Friday, September 23, 2011

UC Muslim students guilty of disturbing speech (OC Register)
     A jury Thursday found 10 Muslim university students guilty of disrupting a speech by an Israeli diplomat at UC Irvine last year, in a case that focused on free speech.
UPDATE, SEPT. 23, 2:44 P.M.: sentencing:
     All 10 defendants have been sentenced to three years of informal probation, along with 56 hours of community service. If they complete the community service hours within one year, by Sept. 24, 2012, the probation period will be reduced to one year. Judge Peter Wilson told the court that since the students had clean records and the disruption was "motivated by beliefs" and "not for the sake of disruption," imprisonment was not warranted. (OC Weekly)

The agenda for Monday's BOT meeting

     The September meeting of the SOCCCD board of trustees (BOT) will be on Monday (the 26th). So, as per usual, I went to the district website to download the agenda (the link for the agenda is on the bottom right of the opening page).
     But, right away, I ran into trouble. The download didn’t seem to be working; or it was terribly slow.

* * *
     (As you know, the Brown Act requires that the agenda be made available in various ways prior to the meeting.
     (What happens if you can't download the file? Well, the district provides info about “agenda posting locations.” Here’s the info:

     (I kid you not. That's it. I wonder where that lake is. Can anyone direct me to the guy with the tube? Garsh.)

* * *
     I contacted the district and let them know about the downloading problem. Meanwhile, I just left my computer alone to try to download the file. After twenty minutes or so, it succeeded.
     Meanwhile, somebody (or some thing) at the district contacted me to say:
     The current board agenda link for September appears to be corrupt and will be temporarily inaccessible. We are trying to resolve the issue and will notify you when the link on the District website is working. We apologize for any inconvenience.
     Is it me? Or does it appear that this message was written by a mechanism. Nobody's notified me yet, and it's 5:30 p.m.
     UPDATE: at 5:46, the mechanism got back to me:
 The problem has been resolved and the link to the September Board agenda is working. The current agenda link is now accessible on the District website. Thank you for your patience.

     Wow. I was expecting "does not compute."

 * * *

     I’ve only started to peruse the agenda. It did notice a couple of items about student travel: 5.2 and 5.14. Check ‘em out:

Students get $35 a day for meals, but faculty get $50. Gosh.

     Boy, that Phi Theta Kappa convention is mighty pricy: $1350 per Kappster. What could they possibly be doing in Nashville, anyway? Visiting the grave of Minnie Pearl? 
     Of course, Saddleback's "forensics tournament" is even pricier: $1400 per student (it's $1850 per faculty).

O'Reilly calls Reeve a "pinhead"

Tea Partiers, click on the big arrow/triangle

Meanwhile, the Farewell Tour continues: 
Former O.C. GOP boss Fuentes honored (OC Reg)
     Longtime former county Republican Party Chairman Tom Fuentes, who is in hospice care in his home and is dying of cancer, continued what is becoming a farewell tour on Saturday, when he made it to the California Republican Party convention in Los Angeles.
     Fuentes, 62, accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award from the CRP and delivered a searing six-minute speech full of his characteristic criticism, encouragement and moralism….
     “Today I come to share with you a farewell,” Fuentes said Saturday before launching into the politics – starting with attacks on some fellow Republicans. Some excerpts:
. . .
     “California has become a failed place. The vulgarity and violence that pours out of Hollywood goes unchallenged by our civic leaders. Crime is rampant in the streets. The adulterous conduct of ranking elected officials is common place [sic]. Our children are without heroes and role models.” ….

Thursday, September 22, 2011

They're making their own sauce

     EXCELLENCE, CONFERENCE-WISE. Today we noticed that Elise Blackwell’s recent piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education (The Word on Writers’ Conferences), which discusses the virtues and vices of the country’s major writers’ conferences, favorably refers to her experiences at The Community of Writers at Squaw Valley conferences in particular.
     As you know, our own Rebel Girl co-directs (along with Louis B. Jones) the Writers Workshop of the CWSV.
     Just sayin’.
* * *
Just add water
     SELF-DEFECATING RIGHT-WINGERS. The “I named my dog Muhammad” story first broke (I believe) on the estimable Voice of OC.
     Yesterday, VOC returned to it (San Juan Councilman Is Criticized, Applauded, for Muhammad Comments), noting events at Tuesday night’s meeting of the San Juan Capistrano City Council.
     VOC reminds us of the issue—that libertarian and conservative Derek Reeve, a City Councilman (and Saddleback College adjunct), announced, a few weeks ago, that he had named one of his dogs “Muhammad”—a prima facie act of ridicule of Islam and of Muslims, who traditionally regard dogs as unclean creatures.
     VOC then reports that “Councilman Larry Kramer called on Reeve to apologize for the comment and promise not to make remarks at public meeting[s] that are offensive to minorities.” But “Reeve refused to apologize, instead unleashing a diatribe on what he considers radical Muslim societies in other nations.”

The Bauer family, 1961: first visit to San Juan Capistrano
     By the way: yesterday, the OC Reg’s Frank Mickadeit noted that the two City Councilmen who have taken issue with Reeve’s remarks have the greatest right-wing cred:
     But, funny, the two council members most vocal about saying they too were offended by Reeve's comments, and who most strongly urged him to apologize, were [Sam] Allevato, a 30-year cop, and Kramer, a 30-year Navy officer, a sub boat captain. Not exactly your weak-livered liberal kowtowers….
     The VOC article ends thus:
     At the end of his speech, Reeve's supporters cheered and hooted. … Everyone who spoke on the issue during public comments backed Reeve and attacked what they said was the threat of radical Islam and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim organization that condemned Reeve's remark.
     "These radicals have one evil goal, and that is to gain total domination of this beautiful Christian nation and western civilization," said Vaughn Becht, a Westminster resident.  
     "We Christians will not succumb to their evil ways."
     BAUER-SPEAK. As I have mentioned previously, the Bauer family—especially during the era of my and my siblings’ childhood (from the mid-1950s to the mid-1980s)—always and compulsively played with the English language, which was actually a second language for my sister and me (we originally spoke German).
     In a situation like this (i.e., the spectacle of citizens making such remarks), a Bauer sibling—especially my little bro Ray, the master—would simply remark: “Just add water; it makes its own sauce,” a reference to those stupid commercials, now long forgotten. For some reason, such blatherings were constant objects of ridicule among us. And they became important vehicles of commentary and entertainment too. But that's another story.

1961: "Please don't ring bells."
* * *
     THOSE AMAZING FULLERTONIAN DOLTS. The Fullerton PD is certainly making its own sauce. That is, they have a scandal, an ever-deepening scandal, that is entirely of their own making. First came the incident itself—the murder of “schizophrenic drifter” Kelly Thomas, back in July. And then there’s everything they’ve done since: releasing no information, yada yada. The Fullerton PD looks like a bunch of assholes. Everything they do makes them look worse. They're making their own sauce—you only need to add water (that is, you don't need anything, I guess).
     Today, the OC Weekly’s Gustavo Arellano blogged about a new video about the Kelly Thomas case put out by Reason Magazine (see Reason Magazine's TV Outfit on the Kelly Thomas Murder and the Power of Citizen Media).
     From the beginning, we here at DtB understood that the Kelly Thomas case is important, but there was no particular reason for us to comment on it. The case has particular resonance for me because my own brother, Ray, was also a “schizophrenic drifter”—one who, ultimately, lived a tragic life and met a tragic end at age 39, though not one quite so horrific as Thomas’. (He died very suddenly in a construction accident.)
     I am very pleased to see that the Kelly Thomas story has gone big and that, contrary to expectations (for OC political/governmental culture is about as dismally unhealthy as OC cop culture), the OC DA is pursuing the case aggressively. I didn’t expect that.
     Arellano provides the Reason Magazine video, though he carps (justifiably, I think) that it fails to take into account the important work done by the blog Friends of Fullerton’s Future.
     Here’s the video. It emphasizes how the growth of this particular "story" illustrates a larger phenomenon: a replacing of traditional journalism with citizen efforts, fueled by technology and the internet.

See also: Kelly Thomas: O.C.'s thoughts on the charges (Wow. Virtually all of these Orange Countians seem to be more or less on the same page.)


With my dad, feeding a "swallow." 1961
Mom and friend, SJC, 1961

The Politics of the Mid-Year Student Fee Increase

Posy patrol
Members of the IVC community received good news from the college president this morning via email: Glenn happily informed us that Governor Brown had signed ABX1 32 into law, which will delay the anticipated and dreaded mid-year $10 student fee increase. Glenn proudly touted his own participation in the successful passage of this bill as he is a Commissioner on the Commission on Finance and Legislative Advocacy and represents our college. (See your inbox: "ABX1 32 Passes").


Rebel Girl has long been interested in how people's personal politics can challenge the wellbeing of their workplace, particularly how this contradiction manifests in Orange County's higher education community. You know, conservative, anti-public education types working at public education institutions.

How does that work exactly?

You remember former SOCCCD trustee Don Wagner, now Assemblyman Wagner representing Aliso Viejo, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Newport Beach and Tustin. As a candidate, he was the recipient of much money and support from many in the SOCCCD, including IVC president, Glenn Roquemore. As a candidate, Don benefited from his service as a college trustee which helped to catapult him up to Sacramento.

So, how did former SOCCCD trustee now Assemblyman Wagner vote on ABX1 32?

Do you really have to ask?

Of course he voted no. Of course he did. Of course.

Along with 26 others, who, Rebel Girl would wager, are Republican members of the assembly. (To check the vote tallies, click here.)

Glenn would join them too, Rebel Girl would wager, were he a Republican member of the state assembly.


He's sort of stuck, isn't he? What's a guy to do?

She just wonders how it all get reconciled, how it all works out. Of course, part of it is that these contradictions or inconsistencies are seldom pointed out. For example, Glenn's email didn't mention Don's lack of support.

Why would it? Then again, why shouldn't it?

I am saddened to report that former Trustee Wagner failed to support this important bill; fortunately however, enough Democrats saw the wisdom of it and the bill passed. Whew.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Plain old prejudice

     For what it’s worth, OC Reg columnist, Frank Mickadeit, isn’t buying Derek Reeve’s account of his now-notorious “named my dog Muhammad” story and his subsequent explanations. See Free speech, or plain old prejudice?
     The local GOP establishment doesn't seem to be circling the wagons around Reeve. On the other hand, Reeve does have the support of such local right-wingers as Barbara Coe. Yeah.

UPDATE: just posted:

• Muslim group wants official to apologize for dog Muhammad (OC Reg)
     Islamic Circle of North America’s Southern California chapter praises a council member’s criticism of Councilman Derek Reeve’s comment that he had named his dog Muhammad, after the Muslim prophet. The group says it won’t rule out a protest in San Juan Capistrano against the remark....

See also Offensive 'speech' in SJC poses problems

Also in the news...

• Universities now urging freshmen to consider studying the forgotten humanities (San Jose Mercury)
     On 21st century American campuses, is there room for Shakespeare, Sartre and Sondheim?
     A declining number of students think so – a trend that worries leaders at many top universities, where engineers often outnumber humanists.
     Seeking to reignite interest in the liberal arts, this week Stanford University is welcoming the Class of 2015 with a rich opening volley of literature, film and philosophy designed to elevate freshmen dreams beyond that cool job at Google….

• A Civilized Debate (Inside Higher Ed)
     Towson University is the latest battleground in a controversy over a student group whose presence is growing on college campuses.
     Youth for Western Civilization appeared on the scene in 2009 as a co-sponsor of the Conservative Political Action Conference, sparking the interest of students across the country to start university chapters of their own. It has grown from about eight college chapters in its first year to about 15 today, with Towson as one of its newest member institutions.
     The group has garnered a lot of attention for its stated standpoint – opposing “radical multiculturalism, political correctness, racial preferences, mass immigration, and socialism” – and particularly from hate-awareness groups saying it could have white nationalist ties. The group's leaders vigorously challenge such assertions….

Club Day at IVC (plus ye olde inexplicable medieval dude)

IRVINE. As you know, I'm on sabbatical, so I make a point of staying away from the college. But I've insisted that Rebel Girl take some pics, and so here's what she sent me today.
It was "Club Day" at Irvine Valley College, so the various clubs—there's a few goofy ones (stock market investment club?) among the usual suspects (Christian, cheerleading)—put up booths and provided the usual clubby things. No doubt there were blue and white balloons.  Check it out.
For some reason, an old guy in a vaguely Arthurian costume from "Medieval Times" was among the clubbers. Don't know why. At IVC, if you ask why, you don't get an answer. Or you get several, and they're all wrong.
Evidently, one of our sharp new hires wandered outside and saw this guy; she ran back into A200, yelling, "WTF! Did you see the Medieval Guy out there? What's up with that?!"
Everyone just stared. Hey, it's IVC.
Rebel Girl dropped by the MRC, the subject of much Sturm und Drang and gnashing of teeth in recent months. "It looked like the Playboy Club, but without the bunnies," said the Reb. It does seem to have a wealth of pizzazz—I mean, for a room at a freakin' college.
The MRC is a celebration of glass and, um, uselessness, I guess. Nobody seems to know quite what's going on with the MRC. It used to have students on computers.

An offensive trend among OC elected officials (louts)

     Derek Reeve, a San Juan Capistrano City Councilmen and an adjunct Poli Sci instructor at Saddleback College, received harsh criticism from some of his colleagues last night for his jocular remark, two weeks ago, that he had named his dog “Muhammad,” something highly offensive to Muslims, who regard dogs as “unclean.”
     Read all about it in the OC Reg.
     According to the Reg, at last night’s City Council meeting, Mayor Sam Allevato, alluding to Muslim citizens and city workers, declared that
"When you're up here on this dais, ...[Y]ou're an elected leader of the 37,000 people who we represent. We're here to represent everyone."
     Councilman Larry Kramer said
"As leaders we should be setting a higher standard of behavior ... We should be asking ourselves what is best for the people of San Juan Capistrano."
     According to the Reg, Reeve took offense to those remarks and “became emotional”:
     Reeve said he named his dog Muhammad to make a political statement against oppression in other societies regarding issues like this one. Reeve also objected to comments from Kramer regarding how he raises his children. "Mr. Kramer is criticizing me on how I raise my children," Reeve said. "To hell you say – I will teach them and educate them on these principles until the day I die."
     Oh my.
     Some citizens came in support of Reeve. They seemed to think that his First Amendment rights were being violated. Of course, they were not.
     Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Greater Los Angeles Area office of [Council on American-Islamic Relations], wrote a statement expressing disappointment of what he called an offensive trend in Orange County: "It is unfortunate that we are witnessing a trend of local elected officials engaging in actions offensive to Muslims or promoting outright anti-Muslim bigotry. We want to remind these elected officials that our great nation was built on the values of respect, inclusivity and religious pluralism."
In education news:
What does the research [re online courses] show?

     Several recent research studies of online courses at community colleges have direct relevance for the high school experience. Underwritten by the Lumina Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a study released last summer that tracked community colleges in Washington State over a five-year period concluded that “students were more likely to fail or withdraw from online courses than from face-to-face courses.” A similar study in Virginia came to the same conclusion. As the Chronicle of Higher Education reported, “online students often have little training in how to navigate the online interfaces of their courses and struggle to manage their coursework without the grounding of weekly class meetings.” A study at a Texas community college found that students in online developmental classes (classes students must take before they are allowed to take college-level courses) had among the highest failure rates—around 60 percent.
                                                                       --(From EdSource)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Closing Time

via Los Angeles Review of Books via Galley Cat - a photo taken by a reader identified as Jessers25 at a Borders going out of business sale.

In the photo (click to enlarge), a Thomas Jefferson quotation, "I cannot live without books," presides over a bare wall and dismantled bookcases, and discarded subject signs including "WORLD HISTORY."

Today is Borders' last in business.

Rebel Girl is busy using up all those old Borders gift cards she has lying around.

According to Galley Cat: "No matter what you think about mega-bookstores or Borders management, this is a sad year for everyone who loves books. If you want to help, the Help Ex-Borders Employees page is collecting resources for the thousands of booksellers looking for work."


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