Saturday, December 8, 2012

Young Bugsy this morning

Here's the Bugster, playing with one of his favorite toys, a motorized mouse. Somebody turns it on, launches it, and it moves idiotically about the floor. Then he "kills" it, eventually leaving it on its side. Then he waits for someone to right it. This typically goes on for quite some time.

Bugsy underwent neutering surgery yesterday, but it hasn't slowed him down a bit. This morning, he was again full of piss and vinegar. Here he is tearing into some Christmassy doo-dad near his grass farm.

He's supposed to wear that Elizabethan collar, but mom is reluctant to put it on her little boy. Actually, he's pretty good about wearing it. He's pretty good about everything. He hasn't been licking or biting the site of his surgery. He's a very polite little man.

This is Bugsy's all-time favorite toy, his bunny-rabbit, a finger puppet. Mom call it Bugsy's "baby." Sometimes, he "kills" it, but then he treats it like a teddy bear. Cats are complicated.

He's a very sweet, well-behaved kitten. Doesn't have a mean bone in his body. My dad says that Bugsy is very "reasonable." He is, I guess, for a cat.

Hide-and-seek with the Bugster. He can play all day.

Bugsy in his new home. Everything's good in Bugsy's life. Everything.

• Thanksgiving prodigies: Bugsy and Reggie
• Bugsy celebrates Veterans Day
• Wednesday Pics: purely unacademic
• Kitten and couple
• Little Bugsy says "hey"
• Rescued kitten

Friday, December 7, 2012

63,000 minus 200

Record 63,000 apply to Cal State Fullerton (OC Reg)
Applications are up about 9% for fall 2013 over fall 2012.

…The record numbers come after the system essentially closed admission for new students for spring 2013 because of ongoing budget cuts. Most campuses aren't admitting any students for the spring. Fullerton will admit just a couple of hundred this spring, officials said….

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Another chapter in the misbegotten "civility initiative" saga

     Today, at the meeting of the Irvine Valley College Academic Senate, the assembled reps considered whether to approve various new and revised board policies and administrative regulations, including the poorly written BP180:
The Board of Trustees of the SOCCCD is committed to fostering a district-wide environment which maximizes mutual respect and promotes a cooperative climate of civility.
     Evidently, the Saddleback College Academic Senate has already approved a slightly reworded version of BP180:
The Board of Trustees of the SOCCCD is committed to fostering a district-wide environment that promotes mutual respect and a climate of cooperative civility.
     You’ll recall that, last spring, considerable controversy erupted when IVC administration pursued a heavy-handed approach to addressing a “civility” deficit in the district that had been noted by accreditors. Those fools were about to sick the Civility Police on us. We squawked plenty. After the Sturm und Drang, administration backed off.
     During an earlier workshop concerning the “civility” issue, guest Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the UCI law school, suggested that the college should not seek to “legislate civility.” No surprise there. Evidently, college administrators paid 'im no heed.
     Well, they're back to the Police idea.
    According to a document provided for our discussion at today's meeting, the review process will also yield an administrative regulation “stating that the Chancellor and Presidents [of the two colleges] will implement BP 180 at their sites….”
In 2003, an IVC admini-
strator declared that instruc-
tors may not discuss the war
in Iraq unless they got his
permission first.
     "Implement," eh? It seemed to me that the BP and AR 180 combination amounts to an attempt to legislate and enforce “civility,” precisely the approach that Chemerinsky wisely advised against.
     At today’s senate meeting, I, along with another rep, voiced strong opposition to the proposed BP/AR 180 essentially on that basis. I suggested that the proposed policy and regulation were contrary to ideals of academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas. Another rep argued forcefully that this policy is wholly inappropriate and that the college could address and promote civility in many other ways that fall short of this kind of enforcement.
     After a few minutes of discussion, the gathering unanimously (there may have been one abstaining vote) approved a motion to reject the proposed policies and anything of their kind. It was further recommended that the board instead pass a resolution concerning the desirability of civility.

SEE ALSO Who argued that college Poli Sci professors should teach the Board’s political views? Guess!
OC Professor Blames Occupy Wall Street and President Obama For Causing California Gun Buying Spree (Navel Gazing; R Scott Moxley)

…According to [Chapman U’s John] Eastman, there are five overall causes for increased gun purchases: Occupy Wall Street protesters willing to challenge the status quo, Obama's re-election strategy …, the threat of a rebellion by the poor, anticipation of natural disasters, and fear that the president will take away gun ownership rights.
. . .
As chairman of the board of the National Organization For Marriage and a king of non sequiturs, Eastman has been equally breathless in his claims of looming calamity over gay marriage. He asks with a straight face: If gay couples marry, who then will have intercourse to supply the planet future generations of human beings?....

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Murder à la Robin Hood

Update: Wyoming community college killing

     Police released more details Saturday of a grisly murder-suicide at a Wyoming community college, saying a man shot his father in the head with a bow and arrow in front of a computer-science class not long after fatally stabbing his father’s live-in girlfriend at their home a couple miles away. … Computer-science instructor James Krumm, 56, may have saved some of his students’ lives Friday by giving them time to flee while trying to fend off his son. (12/3 update)

* * *

     FAMOUS OC MURDER MYSTERY. This odd episode reminds me of one of Orange County’s greatest murder mysteries, a case that we’ve discussed previously. Here are the facts:
     Tom Fuentes’ political career started when he served, first, as OC Supervisor Ron Casper’s campaign manager (c. 1969-70), then as his executive assistant (1971-4). Casper’s chief political advisor those days was Fred Harbor, owner of the Shooting Star, the yacht that mysteriously disappeared off the coast of Baja in 1974, along with Caspers, Harber, and eight other men. (My earlier examination into the careers of Harber and Caspers has convinced me that these two were quite dirty. If so, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Fuentes was in the thick of these dark doings. See Shooting Star.)
     At the time, Harbor’s trusted secretary was one Arlene Hoffman, who, twenty years later, became a secretary for OC Supervisor Jim Silva:
Arlene Hoffman
     Late in 1994, not long after her husband's death, at the recommendation of Lyle Overby [who, incidentally, disembarked the Shooting Star after the first leg of its doomed voyage], she was employed by newly-elected OC Supervisor Jim Silva, a Republican. When, one day late in December, she didn’t show up for work, Silva had the police go to her Laguna Niguel home. They found her dead body near the entry. She had been killed with an arrow, possibly from a cross-bow, the night before. The arrow was not found on the scene. Nothing was.
     Evidently, nothing had been taken from her home; it had not been ransacked. Her dog was still with her when the police arrived.
     The murderer has never been identified.
OC Register
May 10, 2006
Police, fire, courts LAGUNA NIGUEL
     Orange County sheriff's investigators continue to ask for the public's help in finding the person who killed Arlene Hoffman nearly eight years ago [sic?—eleven and a half years ago].
     Hoffman, 57, was found dead in her Laguna Niguel home Dec. 30, 1994. She may have been killed with an arrow or a similar instrument.
     Anyone with information about the case is asked to call (714) 647-7055.
May 9, 1976 - LA Times - Case against Cella
Corinthian Colleges' for-profit model under fire (OC Reg)
     For-profit colleges have been on the hot seat lately for collecting billions in revenue from federal student loans while too often leaving students saddled with debt and ill-equipped to get jobs. Half the students enrolled at the largest for-profit schools leave without a diploma within four months. Corinthian Colleges is one of the companies under the spotlight. Its colleges charge some of the industry’s highest tuition and steer students into expensive private loans that half of them eventually default on….

See also:
• Tom Fuentes and Stanbridge College (a local for-profit) 
 • Mathur's friends among us (Mathur and Argosy)

Kitten and couple

The puppy cat
     A very brief Bugsy update: he’s doing wonderfully. Took ‘im to the vet on Thursday, where he got two more shots, plus this and that. He was pretty brave about it, and it helped that the technician, Janelle, was kind and good. Turns out his health prospects are likely better than we first thought, given his heart murmur, and that cheered us.
     Yesterday, my folks moved all the furniture out of a back room in preparation for carpet-cleaning there, and the temporary home of all that stuff in the living room produced a marvelous kitten Disneyland. I popped by today, and I found the Bugster happily exploring the empty drawers and empty chests, the box spring set, and whatnot. Naturally, the boy was hard to find, cuz hiding is half the fun.
     "Where are you, Little Man?" called mom. He soon climbed atop a couch, and mom scooped him up, then cradled him like a baby, whereupon he seemed to go into a brief trance. I espied his fuzzy little forehead and pinkish ears whilst mom made with the baby talk. Then, suddenly, he squirmed out of mom's arms and ran to greet my dad at the door. "Hi, pup!" said dad, as he struggled, like the old man he is, through the door.

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