Friday, July 24, 2009

California Faculty Assoc. of the CSU Voted for Furloughs: Pres. Garcia sends message to staff

CFA voted 54% to 46% in favor of furlough instead of a 20% layoff percentage. This seems to mean the layoff percentage would be cut in half and instead larger number would have wage cuts, I am not sure of the percentage at this point but it would be a significant reduction. Below is a notice our President of the CSUDH, Mildred Garcia sent out to staff employees. This does not apply to faculty. Just thought the following was interesting. The fact that staff have to return to 5 day week schedules and then take off certain days may not sit well with some staff.

Dear Colleagues,

As you know, the CSUEU and UAPD Leadership and the Chancellor’s Office have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on furloughs for the 2009-10 fiscal year. We are still working on our campus plan but I want you to know that our first furlough day will be Friday, August 14th. I hope this information will help you with your planning. Soon, we will meet with your campus union leadership to share the finalized campus furlough plan including dates.

A number of employees are on compressed/alternate work week schedules, e.g. 4, 10 hour days or a 9 day, 80 hour schedule. This complicates the agreed upon furlough plan and the payroll process. Therefore, it will be necessary for employees currently assigned to a modified schedule to convert to a 5 day, 8 hour per day work for the remainder of the 2009-10 fiscal year. Please consider this email your 21 day notice for a schedule change if you are currently on a compressed/alternate work week schedule. If you feel an exception is warranted, please submit a written request to your HR liaison within your Division by August 3, 2009. The requests will be reviewed by your division vice president.


Mildred GarcĂ­a, Ed.D.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

What's on My Mind Today (CSU Budget Threats, The Harvard Professor Arrest, Health Care)

Today foremost, we are all waiting to hear the outcome of the budget deal that the California State Legislature may or may not have worked out with our Governor, The Terminator. I am a FERPER in the CSU which means I am officially retired but teach part-time. I am also concerned for my colleagues who are either starting their careers or are midway through them. If furloughs are not approved, there could be a 20% layoff reduction which is too many people, of course even one unfairly dismissed is too many.

My Union, California Faculty Assoc. has not yet counted the votes, for or against furloughs, which translates when applied to teaching faculty to mean pay cuts of about 14% from what I heard. In the UC it is less for many, as they are doing the cuts on a more needs friendly basis, cutting bigger amounts from the highly paid faculty and staff and less from the average and lower paid workers. The CSU administrators obviously could have cared less about doing it all more fairly. I thought it kind of strange that our Union, The CFA, has not come up wit the vote tallies yet. Something kind of fishy seems to be going on here as they did the vote a second time round and now nothing.

The Harvard Professor, Henry Louis Gates, who was arrested by the Cambridge policeman in his own home is starting a campaign to highlight the continuing problem of racial profiling. Kudos to him for doing so. I bet he is still steaming from that incident which I see clearly as an example of the continuing racism and racial profiling still going on in this country of ours. The fact that the officer who arrested Gates is trying to portray himself as not racist because he once gave mouth to mouth resuscitation to a star athlete who was Black, was it Basketball?, means nothing to me. By the way, that athlete died. Is that mean of me to say? The fact this guy who harassed Professor Gates mentioned this shows he knows Didley S--- about what racism or race issues mean. Why do so many police officers have to go to extremes in handling distraught individuals? They should be better trained. Also police should screen out racist types or types who tend toward racist thinking. In this case, who wouldn't be angry if a law enforcement person walked into my house and asked me to prove who I was. On top of that, most Black men have been through rough and stupid treatment before hand, and I am pretty certain that Gates just had had it, and justifiably so.

I also believe there was a class issue involved. Since Gates hobnobs with Presidents, teaches at Harvard, is lavished with praise for his work constantly, to be confronted by a blue collar guy in a uniform who doesn't know his A-- from a hole in the ground and then to be treated with such disdain, Black or White, it could make anyone furious. Add the factor of race to the mix and you can imagine the fury it must of caused in Henry Gates' mind and heart. As a white older woman, I have noticed police and fire types tend to be very respectful of me but I know the minute I might try to cross the line, speak our in someone's defense, police tend to react and to react strongly. I have witnessed this on various occasions. I also wonder who Professor Gates' neighbor could be? Is he or she sorry for what he or she caused? Why didn't she/he recognize Gates? It is a bit bewildering. Did this neighbor only see Black. Do we have a new term now "Black While Entering Your House"

As for Obama and what kind of Health Care plan we are likely to get, the climate around the health care debate has taken a turn for the worse. I have read that some experts feel things would be going more smoothly if Obama had started with the single payer system then dropped it and gone to what he wants now, a public insuranace option. This strategy sounds quite cynical to me but who knows what would work with the Republican wolves out there there howling in the winds. Best to just ignore them and move straight along or gayly forward as we say to the desired goal. But that strategy say that the stupid naysayers and fear mongers would have been more satisfied with Obama's plan as it is now. They mean the ones that see Communists lurking in every corner of the health care debate. Obama just seems too weak and a bit confused as to how to manage this tiger he has by the tail. I feel for him but this need of the country for universal health coverage is too important to mess up on now. I am afraid in the end, not everyone will be covered and those who have coverage will end up with something less than what we want especially us older persons who I think some would like to balance the cost of on our literal bodies. I hope we don't end up facing basic rationing of our health care. Yes, some procedures are unnecessary but there is a slippery slope here I don't trust. Still, we need every child insured, and every adult and old person too. All our families and individuals need good coverage and with a little courage on Obama's part it could happen. I say tax the oil companies, tax the richest corporations and individuals, tax tobacco, and the polluters, pay some taxes on luxury items i.e. big cars, SUVS etc. There has to be ways to do this all and NOT keep the poor and the disabled and others from having decent health care.

California is a good example of what is going wrong with our economy. Lack of reasonable taxes has made the State go
broke. And now who does the Terminator want to pay for the rupture in the economy, the poor, the disabled and those who can least afford and need the most in services rendered by the State. Perhaps, if we had universal coverage that would include long term care, hospice, special issues of the disabled that would solve some of the problems for the States that are now going broke .

So all of the above is what is on my Mind today.

Sharon Raphael, Long Beach

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What's on My Mind Today (CSU Budget Threats, The ...":

I find your depiction of the police officer very offensive. The police officer was doing his job. He was not engaged in "racial profiling", he was responding to a call saying that two black men appeared to be breaking into the front door of a house. And you are criticizing the neighbor for making the call??? If you were out of town and your neighbor saw someone breaking into your house, wouldn't you want the police to come check it out? (And just out of curiosity, if the police had NOT responded to the call, would that mean that they were racist bastards who were refusing to protect the property of a black man?)

When the cop arrived, he asked Gates for ID, and he was shown Harvard Faculty ID (no address), and was asked "Don't you know who I am?" Gates was abusive of the police officer, continued to be abusive even when they were outside in front of a crowd. The police officer made a judgment call in arresting him, but the policeman had a right to make the arrest.

I was a research fellow at Harvard/Harvard Medical School for a decade. The degree of NARCISSIM seen in various faculty members there is incredible. From the description of Gates' behavior, I would bet he fits right in.

In Maureen Dowd's column today, she quotes Gates as follows:

"Gates told his daughter Elizabeth in The Daily Beast: “He should have gotten out of there and said, ‘I’m sorry, sir, good luck. Loved your PBS series — check with you later!’ ”

Think about that. Gates expects not only to be recognized as a Harvard Superstar, but also wants recognition as a Television Superstar. What incredible vanity!

This isn't racial profiling. Gates would probably have been just as much of a narcissitic jerk to a black police officer (although he would not have been able to accuse him of racism). A black cop would have been just as likely to have arrested him for disorderly conduct.

And you're jumping on the bandwagon and slamming the cop, too. Shame on you.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Jimmy Carter Leaves His Church because of Sexism

I thought Jimmy Carter's decision to leave the Southern Baptists because of their sexism is great. Kudos to former President Carter who is often on the "leftside" of things. He was a member of the Southern Baptist Church of his for sixty years. One might say what took him so long? But I would rather applaud him for his whole history of supporting good causes i.e Habitat for Humanity and fighting discrimination wherever Carter found it.

Sharon Raphael

taken from

Jimmy Carter leaves Southern Baptist Church, cites sexism
Former President Jimmy Carter has announced that he is leaving the Southern Baptist Church after sixty years because of its treatment of girls and women.

[It was an] unavoidable decision when the convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.
This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women's equal rights across the world for centuries.

At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

Read Carter's full statement here. (By the way, I'm just shocked that I haven't seen any media coverage of this.)

Via BlogHer.

UPDATE: Apparently Carter leaving the church is old news, but he issued a position paper this week on the subject, severing all ties. Thanks!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Postscript to Accidental Billionaires

Postscript: July 19, 2009 There must be something strongly seductive about Facebook that makes so many people use it. There is something quite obscene about the fact anyone or anything could be worth that much money (in the billions). What does it say about our society that such a thing can come to pass. It is not Zuckerberg or any other computer minds that annoy me. It is the fact that so much time is spent on Facebook with people doing mindless things, taking stupid quizzes that are truly meaningless. And many love to record minute details of what they are doing everyday. Perhaps, some day Facebook will provide important historical minutiae and insight into our ironic way of life in the beginning of the 21 Century. The bottomline for me is not that Facebook is worthless; there are some good things about it and people can use the mechanism provided for the betterment of society if they so choose and also as a catharsis to get things off their chest, that is not all bad but it is terribly self involving.

The networking part is more interesting. It can lead to complex social interaction that leads in many directions, hopefully sometimes in a constructive direction offering people a platform for ideas across borders and above the narrowness of place and inbred thinking. The final question is who really should own Facebook and get the economic rewards. Society could put all this monetary outcome to better use than one young man and a few corporate buddies. If there is so much money in these software programs and related invention perhaps, more entities i.e. States, Countries, Political groups, Networks of Labor Unions should hire people like Zuckerberg to create new products so larger and ever larger numbers of people might benefit from the rewards of these computer and internet creations and sensations. Of course, the people with the creative minds and nonstop working ethics need to handsomely rewarded for their creations but not given billions of dollars. One can say, that's America for you but not in my book. I wonder if one can really hire genius. They certainly seemed to do it during WWII to build that evil bomb (The A Bomb) of ours.

Sharon Raphael