Friday, August 10, 2012

Audit Report Details Culture of Fear at County Public Works (Voice of OC)
Excerpt:
...There is a strong belief among female county workers that if an executive sexually assaults them, they have no hope of a legitimate investigation by county Human Resources officials and will be targeted if they complain....
Leaked report shows how county bungled Bustamante probe (OC Reg)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

HR complaints (are the opium of the masses)

Teddi Lorch, Exec Director, HR/
Employer/Employee Relations
     I was in Vancouver when Chancellor Poertner sent out the “district services survey 2012 results.” So I didn’t even read ‘em until a couple days ago. Just skimmed 'em.
     I gathered—from DtB readers—that some of the survey-taker “comments” were pretty negative. So I asked Rebel Girl about that, and she said that HR is a major focus of complaint. No surprise there. I know there are some great employees in HR. On the other hand....
     So here are the comments attached to questions 45 and 46 re HR. Those questions were:
45. Please tell us what services you would like to see more of from Human Resources. 46. Please give us feedback and suggestions concerning Human Resources.
     Before you go on, take a gander at the results of HR questions 42, 43, and 44. 
     Roughly speaking, survey-takers seemed to give HR a "B" in answering those three questions; "commenters," however [i.e., respondents of 45 and 46], seemed to give HR a C- or D:

Click on the graphic to enlarge it
Comments concerning the comments below:
• It appears that many SOCCCD employees could use a college education. –I mean, what’s with all the spelling and grammatical errors? Sheesh. It's embarrassing!
• Employee ***** must really be terrific. And employee ***** is obviously a serious stinker. 
• A special shout-out to employee *****!
• I’m sensing lots of negativity here. More negativity than positivity. But that’s a pretty negative thing to say. 
• I made no effort to edit or clarify the comments. 
• Except: I deleted comments that struck me as tedious. I realize that that is pretty subjective. Gotta cut something out, so that's how I did it. Deal with it.
• I highlighted the essence of comments in yellow.  
• I hope it goes without saying (I don't ever say it here) that some of these commenters are just cranks. We're not assuming that each point made below is valid or fair. On the other hand, where there's lots of smoke, there's likely some fire.
45. Please tell us what services you would like to see more of from Human Resources.

. . .
The recruiting process in Human Resources takes FOREVER. There are many good candidates out there that apply during the application submission process, but then don't hear back for 3 or 4 months for an interview. Other positions stay open for months at a time and hinder the efficiency of their respecitve department. If there is a lack of personnel to take on these recruitments, then additional staff need to be hired or the recruitment process changed. It is rediculous. Also, when I was a new employee my HR Specialist was very scatter brained and told me a lot of inside information that made me unnecessarily nervous about the position I was going into. She did not have a building number or room number for me to report to on my first day and tried to explain directions to the building and room. When you are new to an organization it is a very uncomforting feeling when the only contact person you have doesn't know what she is talking about. It would have been nice if the HR Specialist would have met me on campus my first day or have given me more accurate information about my reporting location.
. . .
It's hit or miss. Somestimes they are very helpful, but a lot of the time you really have to push and push to get any progress on disiplinary issues. It appears that they are scared and/or lazy and push off doing what needs to be done. They also can be all over the place in terms of their support and/or comprehension of an issue. Some days I will get a very favorable response from a person who wants to help, and three days later the same person will change their tune on the same issue and act like the thing they totally understood and were going to help with three days ago is now just not that big of a deal.
. . .
• Assume less control. Provide a service, not dictate the process.
. . .
They hardly ever answer their phone. It's very frustrating and they have so MANY staffing. With so much staff, you would think that they operate more efficiently and effectively and get more things done. If they are going to be in the office, their calls should be transfer to receptionist. If they want something done, they are demanding and think they want the VIP treatment.

• When you ask questions, they don't know a simple answer.

• More timely responses to questions.

• Current day to day business is always at the bottom of their list. It takes weeks to get some changes done by HR. HR staff does not have time lines that they follow as a procedure or process. If someone is out sick or on vacation, no one does their work or even knows what should be done.

• Speedier hiring process. More HR training for the the line manages. They don't seem to know what is going on half the time.

• I would like to see the rules for hiring processes be less prescriptive and over reactive to laws. Its a stifling process, HR makes continual minimum quals errors, does not allow the Chair discipline expert to assist on this level, runs adds in the wrong places mistakes, they force us on classified positions to use a saddleback-centric job description even when it both not appropriate for IVC or so old that is not apropriate at all. IVC is one of two EQUAL colleges in the SOCCCD, it is not the second college nor the step child that has to constantly be subjected to attempts at Saddlebackification.

• more streamlined hiring process
. . .
The existing processes are managed very well by competent HR staff. I would like to implement more rigorous hiring practices that require skill set assessment, and more closely tie required skills to job descriptions.

• Reduce the time it takes to actually post an opening.
. . .
• ***** and ***** are wonderful, so is ***** and many others. They have great attitudes despite working in an office that appears to be understaffed.
. . .
• First, I feel that our policies in relation to recruitment and hiring are arcane. Second, I think that HR's interpretation of those policies are not always accurate and do not enable hiring of the best candidate. Third, I think the online application process needs to be reevaluated. Of particular concern is the posting of what should be confidential letters of recommendation.

• The individuals in Human Resources meet my expectations, but the processes do not. While there have been attempts in the past year to make improvements, these efforts have not gone far enough.

• It seems a little scattered- when I have emailed a question to management regarding a policy or the need to review the possiblity of creating a new position... it never goes anywhere.

• I would appreciate if HR actually showed support for the individual college's operations and less about District staffing. The HR department is very secretive and its procedures are ineffective when dealing with issues at the front line level. As a manager I am not even consulted by HR on issues involving long term abscenses from my employee and I am held responsible for filling out the time sheet at the end of the month. It is frustrating that we hire administrators and managers but we dont trust them to do their job. HR appears to only trust HR and other District managers.

David Bugay, VC, HR &
Employer-Employee Relations
Great people. But faculty hires should occur earlier in the school year.

• Knowing a little something about the colleges, programs and services. Classified use to give a little support to new classified but it seems it's discouraged now.

• HR forms (e.g. PER 001) are still not online. 2) Testing for administrative position skill sets (Microsoft Office) is not required which leads to an excessive number of applications for committees to screen. This is not acceptable.

• Recruitment process improvement - Human Resources be more customer oriented. Answer questions in a timely manner and not have to wait for days to get answer. More assistance with disciplinary issues and follow up accordingly.
. . .
• Flexibility in setting the dates of hiring cxommittees. We would like to move the dates to earlier in the spring so we don't lose candidates to other districts in our very competitive field.
. . .

46. Please give us feedback and suggestions concerning Human Resources.

. . .
• HR recently tackled a a reclass study for administrators and managers. Overall, the recommendations to the BOT effectively identified changes in job descriptions. Many employees saw a positive change in classification recommended. This had to have been a very time-consuming and difficult effort and I appreciate that HR took the initiative to pursue this much-needed study.
. . .
Too many employee relatives are hired for positions that are never posted.

• While I have never had a problem with hiring, I must note that the process is so driven by being liability-averse that you never really get to know anything about the candidates. The insider applicant pretty much always gets the job under these circumstances.

Human Resources have improved tremendously. The employees are very helpful and are well informed on the subject matter.

• The employees go out of their way to assist in anyway possible. Keep up the good job.

• HR personnel are never a concern. They are earnest and helpful. It is the hiring process that is poorly designed, making the hiring of the best personnel for any job more difficult than necessary.

Hope? Really?
• I have assisted several HR Specialists in setting up rooms on campus for hiring committees and some have been good about being organized and contacting me to set up things beforehand, but others have been last minute who show up late expecting everything to be in place for the interviews when they did not arraign anything with me ahead of time. This causes lots of scrambling on both our parts which was recognized by some of the candidates as things were not set up before they arrived.

• District HR should be reduced to a few staff and the bulk of the current staff dispersed to each campus where the customers and new hires are located. District HR should follow the rules and commitments in a timely manor. District HR should communicate in a more honest manor.
. . .
• They assume that we know everything they do about human resources issues. Perhaps offering suggestions for team building, as opposed to assuming that we know all about team building and are taking it upon ourselves to hire an outside team building expert to come in and work with us, would be helpful. Sidestepping obvious discipline issues is a problem. It really appears that they just don't want to deal with the difficult issues that arise, so we are left on our own, having to deal with problem employees who have been here much too long because we don't get the back up we need unless you demand it. I shouldn't have to strongarm HR to get help.

• I have been given conflicting information at times.

• HR should not assume that administrators are more likely to be in the right than people complaining about the administrator

Confidentiality is essential and critical. Unfortunately, it is sorely absent with the VC.

• There seems to be more concern with union desires than management. Processing to fili open positions is rediculously slow, impacting campus services.

• Re: Substitute Hires - Modifying the hiring process to a less formal one to eliminate valuable time for all involved. This would would pertain to the subs that have proven competency and dept. desire for permanent hire. Minimize screening hours, meetings and interview requirements. Perhaps more like a lateral hire process?

• Understandably, HR is under a lot of pressure recently. However, it would be helpful if HR would try to be a little more responsive and timely on HR requests.

• Overall I "Slightly Agree" with the above questions. This survey needs to have a step between "Disagree" and "Agree". Without it, I do not feel that you are getting accurate data. HR has not failed completely but certainly needs improvement particularly in employee recruitment - whether the problem is with union restrictions or HR protocol.

• with all of the extra staff, why havent' services gotten better

Too much "inside" trading goes on....if you know what I mean!

Less one-way, top-down decision-making. Theirs seems to be an attitude of having special information and special skills that others may not question. It should not be up to Human Resources to determine whether a faculty member or academic administrator has met minimum qualifications. Human resources itself is not qualified to do this. Also, HR is quick to correct faculty and classified staff, but definitely not deans and higher, on deliberation remarks/questions/observations clearly against policy.
. . .
• Things are difficult to find on MySite and the Wiki

"I'll get back to you in January."
They need to answer their phones. They are never available and don't neccessarily return calls or emails timely.

• HR is too big a department and despite their size, runs inefficiently. Too many chiefs and to many indians does not always equate to productive. I heard some of the staff don't have enough to do.

• Get new management across the hoard. NEW PEOPLE IN MANAGEMENT IN HR.

• ***** is amazing and always gets back to me quickly, answering all my questions!

• H.R. should be more consistent when providing guidance to the colleges. Depending on the time or the person a question is asked you may get different or even conflicting answers. The process used for the managers' salary study was not very well organized. There were a number of times when the consultant had to go back and make corrections. The appeal process was not clear from the very beginning. The process by which the new salary ranges were defined was not transparent. No research information was provided to the managers explaining how the new range was determined.

• Where's Risk Management? Way too hard to find on the HR website. The process for an on-the-job injury is not clear, forms outdated, and a suspect release of information.

• HR has changed drastically over the years with new personnel and difficult to keep atrack of!

• More streamlined hiring process.

• Having served on a number of hiring committees, it seems that the process is flawed in that it seems easy to doctor the numbers in favor of one person vs. another. I played fair and square though.

• I wish they would answer their phones!!

• It seems to take an inordinate amount of time to post replacement positions for employees that have resigned/retired.

• The management classification study has been a real disappointment. It took too long and there was way too much interference and it is widely thought that those who were aggressive and pushed their agendas were successful and others were rubber stamped through without much thought.

• In the 4 years that I have been a full time employee I have only needed to go to human resources a few times but the always had the answers and were quick to respond when I did. Thank you!

• Be available to talk with. There is no open access to HR unless you make a formal appointment.

• Training should be paid. Teachers are paid on an hourly basis, and if we are to make use of training, we should be compensated for the time we devote to it. The college ultimately benefits from our being trained, thus it is in its interest to give us incentives to do so. The current pay scale does not compensate adjunct faculty with PhDs for experience. Thus there is no incentive to continue working at Saddleback. The pay scale for adjunct faculty is one of the lowest in the LA-Orange County-San fernando Valley area. If Saddleback wants to remain competitive, it should re-evaluate its pay scale. A different pay scale might encourage staff to devote more time to their classes. Saddleback should offer paid office hours for adjunct faculty. This would help students.

• Human Resources needs to take the lead in sensitivity tranining. For instance, there is not enough consideration given to the planning calendars of the colleges. Events such as Commencement and Scholarship Ceremonies are scheduled a year in advance, yet - the Chancellors Cabinet occurs on the same date of IVC's Scholarship Ceremony. (Two years in a row!) A very important Civility HR workshop is held the Friday before commencement, a business continuity meeting is initially scheduled at 4 p.m., the day before both colleges have their commencement ceremonies. We need to have Human Resource sensitivity tranining for the district personnel on what goes on at the colleges at these busy times of year. i.e., the end of each semester -especially ...At Disney, all the upper level managers, one day a year go out into the parks, and they become a costume character. Perhaps, we need to have a program where our district services personnel "shadow" the college managers to better understand our roles or at least attend College Council on a regular basis. This peer mentoring could help build bridges between the colleges and district if implemented in a constructive and positive manner. Human Resources needs to be the leader in these types of efforts. Implementation needs to be a goal for 2012-2013.

Too rigid at times.

• If HR says they maintain a strict policy seeking a nationwide search for positions that need to be filled, they need to maintain that policy at ALL times and not be selective during the process.

The whole salary classification study lacks integrity. This study has been kept compartmentalized and is everything but transparent. The information regarding the individual's salary placement has not been provided yet we are asked if we accept the finding. The overall placement of positions on the master schedule is not been provided and appeals are not being accepted until after the Board of Trustees votes on the item. What good is an appeal after the Board of Trustees votes on the issues. Why is the process not transparent.

Presidential spouse
& chemistry teacher
HR should keep a closer eye on shady hiring and nepotism at IVC instead of looking the other way when it happens. The college president's wife should not be working on the IVC campus.

• The entire recruitment process is labor intensive and takes too long. By the time you start hiring for a position, the top applicants are gone to other jobs. Also, positions on campus go empty for months with subs being used. This is not cost effective, as you spin your wheels training the sub and then again when the permanent replacement arrives.

• In working with *****, she seems very disorganized and it is of concern to me. I think she needs an additional administrative assistant to do her filing and tasks.

***** does a wonderful job!

• I would like Human Resources to provide more information on the various types of forms needed when hiring employees. This can be confusing and they don't always provide the information.

• There are problems in all areas of the "Services" they provide but at least we are becoming paperless in that office because that is a goal that supports students and staff.

• It really depends on who you work with.

• HR has been engaged in a cat-mouse game where they refuse to remove unjust documents from personnel files. These derogdocs have either been added without fair disclosure, as required by ed. code and our collective bargaining agreement, or have no relevance whatsoever and do not belong there. They are usually remnants from bad managers of the past. When these issues have been brought to the attention of the HR director, we've been ignored. The HR game is about them wanting us to put up a big fight about it. Please have this unjust practice and files cleaned up. This is mean spirited: please force HR to stick to the rules.

• The coordination and communication on the administrator/manager study was not done well. More transparency in the process would have been much better.

• I would like to have appropriate feedback when asked how a decision was made regarding the selection of a candidate even though it is on a rating basis. And that the position description reflect not only the qualifications of the individual applicant but also the agenda of the department and how that position meets the primary goal of that dept. I would think it beneficial to rate each job function with a % so that an applicant can weigh before applying to a positon what priorities match instead of finding out in an interview that emphasis is going to be placed on specific areas versus other secondary issues. Also I think it would be beneficial to consider indicating on the HR webpage the legalality of bilingual positions and the specific requirements and procedures for need of such a designation as well as what testing of such language proficiency is to be expected, based on prior hiring consideration, such as a typing test "wpm".

• Faculty and in partucular classified hiring needs to occur in a more timly fashion. It takes to long to fill a classified position.

Hiring process is cumbersome; takes too long to hire employees; scoring applicants during the interviewing by pencil and not computer-generated causes potential errors, and time restraints

• I think that the employee selection process can lag a lot. I look through the eyes of someone who has been on several committees and just trying to find the time to go through the whole process can be overwhelming.

• HR (and the Vice Chancellor and the Board of Trustees) should be more proactive in creating a workplace that values competence and professionalism. Less public sector silliness please. The initial interview process is bizarre and gives an immediate bad impression to new employees. The toleration of incompetent and mean-spirited staff frustrates and drives good employees away. Select competent managers who know how to actually manage and then stay out of their way.

• Please revamp the hiring process. The hiring committee is unnecessarily constrained, people on the committee are many times unqualified to interview candidates, and not enough weight is given to the subject expert(s) opinions/ratings. Lastly, internal candidates are disadvantaged by the current process.

• The policy and process by which faculty are hired in the district needs to be comprehensively redone. It needs to be much more focused on identifying and hiring the best people and less on bureaucratic controls intended to satisfy a very narrow interpretation of the laws relating to these hiring processes. It also needs to release some of the administrative controls on the process that are an artifact of the previous regime.



• I submit paperwork for all areas of hiring (except management). Overall, the service with the PT faculty and Short-term temporary positions is great. Any quesitons I might have is answered very quick. Most frustrating is getting confirmation of paperwork received in HR. I can't assume that they receive the paperwork. The deadline for HR forms to go to the board meeting is extremely early and there is not a way to make sure my items have been received and will go to the board meeting.

• By the way, this list of dates was very hard to get, it seems that it was only given to the college administration.

The new employee orientaion and explanations of services (esp. benefit package)was the poorest I've ever encountered.

• Questions often go unanswered and there's considerable mis-information being delivered.

• We need a faster way of recruiting new employees in order to fill vacant positions. The current system takes way too long.

• Many departments need positions filled in order to be in compliance with state or local mandates and waiting so long to fill a vacancy puts us at risk for being out of compliance

SEE ALSO: 2011 IVC Employee Satisfaction Survey - Initial Report


Lorch gets all pouty

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My last Vancouver report

Looking northwest, from Stanley Park
     Got back from Vancouver on Monday. I've pretty much recovered from the trip.
     My family left the Province of British Columbia fifty-two years ago (1960), when I was about five and Annie was six. But my folks' good friends Hermann and Marianne, who moved to Southern California not long after we did but who moved back to B.C. ten or twenty years later (they worried about health care), kept inviting my folks to come north to visit them, first on Vancouver Island (Victoria) and then later in White Rock, just south of Vancouver. But it was always a no-go somehow.
     H&M would occasionally travel south, though, which is good, cuz these people are seriously close. My mom (Edith) first met Marianne near Münster, Germany, in 1945, when mom was a 12-year-old refugee, and the two have been the best of friends ever since. They’ve been pals as a foursome going back to the mid-fifties.
     My parents and H&M are getting old—they’re all about 80—and my dad, Manny, and Hermann are definitely in decline, healthwise, and so I figured we’d better make this thing—the northern sojourn—finally happen. Besides, friend and ex-wife Kathie and I always wanted to visit BC, which is my birthplace (eh), and so I bought the plane tickets for a non-stop to Vancouver, August 1. I got rooms at the Pan Pacific, which is way fancy, man.

The ceiling of the lobby of the Pan Pacific
     The trip went well, though, predictably, it was necessary to spend money like a drunken Canadian sailor. My little group is pretty generous, though, and so I didn’t have to shell out all the dough—on restaurants, tours, whatnot. I always insisted on paying but somebody always insisted harder, and so, there you go. It all sorta works out. 
     People seem to eat well in Vancouver, I’m glad to say. Never encountered a lousy restaurant. Plus the town is an attractive mix of various ethnicities—lots of Chinese, Sikhs—and it all sort of works. French is spoken, here and there.
Marianne, c. 1955
     Dining is a big thing when you travel. One time, we got the notion of going to a Chinese restaurant, and so we asked the concierge for advice, got a luke-warm recommendation, and then headed just down the street to the "Imperial Palace." I think that was the name. (Update: nope. "Imperial Chinese Seafood")
     The place seemed nice, despite the exterior's construction scaffolding, so we entered. Inside, it still looked promising, I guess, but the aural atmosphere at that moment was awful. We had the bad luck of arriving right when the bottom floor was being used by some organization, which held a pretty wild party—one that featured, anyway, at least one spectacularly loud screaming kid plus a noisy slide show. The din was amazing. My mom kept looking at me as though to say, “Good Lord, that can’t be right, can it?”
     For reasons that don’t matter now, we were all hoping to avoid seeking out yet another restaurant, and so we were trying to make this work. The waiter brought us upstairs to a sort of balcony zone, which comprised maybe four or five tables, including the one next to us, which was occupied by the Family From Hell (actually, from Whistler, north of Vancouver). When I took my seat, I looked over there, and the four kids were beating each other with chopsticks. The dad corrected them ineffectually (he was the sort who yelled his parental efforts for all to hear—all except his brat kids, who were irrecoverably wild and who knew better than to worry about dopey old dad). At one point, one kid yelled to the waiter, “Hey, is my chicken ready yet!” I think Kathie wanted to throttle him. We were all relieved when we detected (by reading one kid's shirt) that they were not Americans.

Silver Falls. Indian Arm of Burrard Inlet
     Immediately before me, I noticed a quiet middle-aged couple. The lady was obviously seriously peeved about that Whistler family. She kept glancing back at ‘em with dagger eyes. Her hubby had plainly been instructed to hurry up and finish and get the goddam check. He resisted. She glared a knife through his forehead and so he was briefly boggled, then recovered and relented, dithering over his colorful Canadian money as wifey seethed and hissed. As they walked out, she nearly spun around to say, “You are the most appalling family on Earth; you sicken me!” But no. She had remembered that she was Canadian.
     All of this, of course, is amusing enough, but there was one further element in the scene: the waiter seemed to find it necessary to yell at us. “You want food!? What food!?” he roared. Having inspected the menu, Mom asked for a "number 48." He glared back at her with apparent consternation. He grabbed her menu and looked up 48, saying, “My memory is not so good!” But Kathie and I detected self-deprecation in that remark. Humor maybe? We thought of the Chinese waiter on Seinfeld.
     But that unfortunate experience was the exception to otherwise universal good-to-greatness, restaurantwise. Plus they seem to like their waitresses sexy in that part of the world. (Kathie was not amused.) I guess they're not completely "correct" in the land of beers, bears, and botanical gardens.
     It’s seriously beautiful, Vancouver is. And, as it happens, we visited during an extremely rare stretch of good weather: it was clear and sunny and warm the whole time we were up there. Nobody has ever encountered anything quite like it, apparently. But, I’m told, it’s been a very wet summer otherwise. 
     Vancouver is about water, man. The downtown area is on a smallish peninsula—much like San Francisco, and so you can’t go far before running into the harbor. The city is the second densest in North America, they say, and so there are lots—lots and lots—of high-rises full of people. Most of the city is very neat, very tidy, though there’s a visible homeless contingent—residue, they say, of the ravages of the drug trade. Not sure how or why or when that happened. 
Edith, c. 1960
     About half of the population looks more or less like me, and they speak mostly like Canadians; that is, they speak slowly, earnestly, pleasantly, yet somewhat reservedly. Sometimes their yammering would make me laugh, as when we took the boat tour east on the Burrard Inlet and then up Indian Arm (a fjord), and Captain Stubing would do the tour guide thing over the intercom. “That yellow stuff is sulfur on that barge at starboard, don’t you know,” he’d intone. Well, yeah.
     Kathie kept waiting for the corny jokes, but they never came. There was no exaggeration, no hoopla, no patriotic self-promotion. Very Canadian. Not very American.
     Some of the Canadian and American border officials were kind of prickly. One time, some official gal asked my dad, “Any declarations?”, and he heard, “Any decorations?” He muttered something about “Mickey Mouse.” (Don’t ask.) Well, that got the gal interested in my dad as a terrorism suspect. (I get it: Mickey Mouse—> terrorism.) They took him away and checked him all out with a fine toothed radar-comb. Earlier, I had made the mistake of taking somebody’s pic near one of the many stations involved in homeland security, and, immediately, an official told me that there can be no photos! So I walked right up to her and showed her as I deleted that photo. I must’ve done it right (or wrong?), cuz they just spun me out the door after that. Later, at Vancouver airport, I asked a uniformed lady—playfully, I thought—if I’d get arrested if I took her picture. She looked at me levelly. She said: "It’s not illegal, but I wouldn’t appreciate it." Good grief.

Posies everywhere
     When we were in the airport before leaving for home, we entered some transitional zone that somehow was officially "the USA." There was some discrepancy of dollar amounts on my “declarations” form—I mean, who cares?—and this guy pointed to it and asked me to explain it. I just said, “Let’s go with the lower figure” and shrugged. He was not amused. “Go,” he said. 
     I’ve got a medical condition. It’s like a broken thermostat: it causes me to get overheated at the slightest provocation. For me, airports are the worst, cuz they’re always humid, hot, and you’ve always got to walk around lost for a while. (Last year, Frankfurt Airport just about killed me.) In such circumstances, I sweat profusely and start feeling lousier and lousier. That happened to me last December in Chicago and I thought I was having a goddam heart attack. Went to the doctor when I got back home, and he said I had to check out, first, my heart, then my blood sugar, then my lungs and such. I checked out OK for the first two and then I started feeling better, so I kind of dropped the ball. I got the chest X-rays taken, but never followed up. Not good.
     The problem came roaring back in Vancouver. I’d perspire to an absurd degree, slow down, get overheated, become useless. I’d lose my breath just walking down the street. I’d have to sit down for a while after just a few steps. There are plenty of humid and hot places in Vancouver, as it turns out. Especially on those harbor boats, which are all closed up with plexiglass cuz they’re designed for typically lousy B.C. weather. In good weather, it’s like a freakin' hothouse inside those boats.
     So, half way through the trip, I became the Amazing Wilted Man. That was my Superpower: utter and devastating wiltitude. Meanwhile, my dad, whose hearing is pretty lousy (he has a hearing aid, but he seems never to have it on right), was the Amazing Lost Man. He was generally two steps behind the rest of us, and I don't just mean geographically. He’d catch up, though, whenever we settled in one spot—say, for dinner or lunch. Then, with perfect lucidity, he’d hold forth about the old days, when Vancouver was B&W with only dirt roads and pompous, unpleasant English people who disliked immigrants. 
     Kathie, of course, was Super Enthusiasm Girl; and mom was The Amazing Anxious Woman, though she’d occasionally morph into Zany Party Girl for a while, melding with Kathie. When things settled down, like on one of those boat tours, she’d fix upon the physical beauty around her. She’d ooh and ah, though somewhat mechanically. She was distracted, I think, keeping track of her Lost Man.

The west shore of Stanley Park
     So we were like wacky cartoon characters in a Super Green lost world of Milquetoastian strangers, forever bouncing into things but generally getting where we needed to go. Getting back to our hotel rooms in the evening was sometimes a relief. I often watched the Olympics on the big HDTV.
     I love to drive and, in particular, I love to drive where driving is crazy, and it’s pretty crazy in downtown Vancouver. We had rented a nice little Toyota Rav-4, which permitted zippage and spinnage and swiftulosity. Such maneuverings, however, especially when combined with one-armed guerrilla camera work, are not always appreciated by elderly parents or ex-wives. Still, I had fun. (Inside the Rav-4, the powerful AC kept me fresh ‘n’ frosty.) 
     There are no left-turn lanes on the roads in Vancouver. Nope. Once in a while, somebody would need to make a left turn, and so they’d just stop, waiting for opposing traffic to clear, bringing everyone else in their lane to a complete stop. I got pretty good at avoiding those backups. Zip, zip, zip, swoosh.
Toyota Rav4
     We had a great time visiting our old neighborhood on Copley Street. The pics tell the story. Too bad Annie wasn't there to tell us how she remembered each brick, twig and ant. "Yes, I remember that crack in the sidewalk!" And we are enjoyed our time with H&M. Kathie loves those people. They're pretty cute, both of 'em.
     For some reason, at 9:00 p.m., those Vancouverians always shoot a cannon, a very loud one, out there in the harbor. Maybe to wake people up, dunno. We first encountered this phenomenon while in the bowels of our hotel, down in the parking garage. Suddenly, there was a loud and distinct thud, like an enormous boulder landing on the roof. Earthquake? "It's the cannon," said my dad. I didn't ask him to elaborate. Such are Bauer conversations.
     The next day, we encountered the explosion while outside, near our hotel. You’d see the white smoke first, on an island in the harbor; then, two or so seconds later, you'd hear the massive report. You’d think such explosions would make these Canadians crazy, but they didn't seem to notice. We saw fireworks, too, on a Friday night, on the way home from the “sunset” harbor cruise. Very nice. That town can be like a carnival.
     Well, we went to the usual places: Stanley Park, museums, harbors, shops, odd little islands, old friends. Everybody had a great time. My folks visited with H&M for two solid days. One night, Kathie got grumpy with me and I got mad at her and so things weren’t too good for a few hours. But, otherwise, it was smooth sailing. Kathie was a huge help.
     So that’s my report.
     Very one-sided, I’m sure.
     See also Copley Street: 1959 and 2012

I'm writing a screenplay: "Posies on a plane." It's about Canadians.


For a fascinating interview of Chinese-American actor James Hong (1929-   ), go to Archive of American Television.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Red Emma remembers Gore Vidal



Red Emma remembers Gore Vidal:
Gore Vidal Remembered  
Almost everybody in Southern California has, or should have, a Gore Vidal story, because if you have been in any way active in anything here --- anti-war or civil rights or environmental activism, you would have encountered - and I use the word pointedly, admiringly - Vidal, at a debate, lecture, reading, demonstration, book fair, any public celebration of the life of the mind, and of civic participation. He lived here, in the Hollywood Hills, and regularly attended marches and gatherings, in fact was one of the small, reliable group of local Left stalwarts who'd add their names and deliver their bodies to a cause. As an undergraduate years ago at Cal State Long Beach, and as a young, eager and impressionable student activist, I met him. I'd been invited to join a small group meeting with the candidate when he visited campus during his 1982 run for US Senate. Sincere, good-hearted liberal and progressive faculty, staff and other students were there, with their questions for the Great Man, who seemed to only put up with the responsibility of listening to his presumed constituents, the whole tiny opera of expectations a farce of course, since we were all there to listen to him, to be delighted, impressed, instructed, amused and, yes, empowered to imagine, absurdly, that an American man of letters, of history, a radical gay public intellectual and literary artist might stand a chance of being elected to one of nation's highest offices as a Democrat....
To read the rest (published on Portside) click here.

To revisit Red's previous post about Vidal's last visit to Orange County, click here

*

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