Sunday, April 26, 2015

Don't Forget! May 6 Faculty Assn. Event

As Janet Napolitano and Jerry Brown battle over tuition increases and state funding for the UC, faculty face eroding compensation and increasing privatization of the university. Is shared governance still meaningful amidst the race for private donations and bond-funded construction? Where is the common ground between tenure and non-tenure system faculty? How does the crisis of student loan debt change our relationship with our students? Join representatives of the Academic Senate, the Council of UC Faculty Associations, and the UC-AFT (lecturers' union) for a open forum on faculty and the future of public higher education in the age of austerity.

Moderator: Toby Higbie (UCLA Faculty Association & Dept. of History)
Leo Estrada (UCLA Public Policy, Chair-Elect Academic Senate)
Patricia Morton (UCR, President Council of UC Faculty Associations)
Bob Samuels (UCLA, UC-AFT)
Wednesday, May 6, 12 noon to 1:30 PM
UCLA Faculty Center
Buffet lunch will be served

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Your Health Insurance Dollars at Work (and Play)

Blue Shield of California fired a top executive last month after he spent more than $100,000 on his corporate credit card, the company says, including on trips with girlfriend and "Sharknado" actress Tara Reid. The details surfaced in a countersuit the health insurance giant filed Tuesday alleging fraud by Aaron Kaufman, the company's former chief technology officer. Mr. Kaufman went to great lengths to avoid scrutiny of his expenses, including intentionally misrepresenting his personal activities as corporate events. - Steve Shivinsky, a spokesman for Blue Shield. Blue Shield cited numerous examples of Kaufman's extravagant spending, some of which came to light after an employee event involving Reid at a San Francisco bowling alley. Some of the expenses cited by Blue Shield included $17,491 that Kaufman spent on a Florida vacation to see Reid. He also spent $832 for one night at the W hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with Reid on Jan. 21, according to the company. Three weeks later, he ran up a corporate tab of $1,382 on drinks at the Warwick, a Hollywood nightclub.But the night of bowling in early January drew the most attention inside Blue Shield. "At some point during the evening, Mr. Kaufman's girlfriend acted inappropriately, taking inappropriate photographs of herself and sharing them," the company said in court documents. Blue Shield confirmed that it was referring to Reid...

Full story at

April Shower of Money Could Help UC's May Revise

April is the big revenue month for the state income tax and as the chart above from the state controller shows, revenue is exceeding the estimate for the month made by the guv last January. The month isn't over yet and the receipts already include the estimate. Yes, there are the usual provisos about Prop 98 grabbing the money for K-14, etc. But the headline effect could be good for UC in its tuition/budget dispute with the guv as he releases the May Revise budget proposal.

There is an article about the April revenues in the Sacramento Bee at:

You can't complain about a shower of money at this time of year:

Hillary Fundraising in Westwood May 7: Look for Traffic Issues

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Look for potential traffic problems in the morning of May 7 and possibly other times. From the Westwood-Century City Patch:

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will hold the first Southern California fundraisers for her campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination on May 7. Clinton will attend a $2,700-per-person breakfast reception at the Westwood home of Catherine Unger, a member of the Women’s Political Committee, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Clinton will then move to another $2,700-per-person event, a luncheon fundraiser at the Pacific Palisades home of television producer Steven Bochco and his wife Dayna, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety reported, citing sources with knowledge of the campaign’s plans. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., will attend the fundraiser. Clinton will also conduct a $2,700 per person early dinner fundraiser at the Beverly Hills-area home of billionaire media giant Haim Saban, according to the entertainment industry trade publications...

Full story at

Bicycle Event Sunday

What: Southbound CEY Drive closed between Wyton Drive and Westholme Avenue

When: Sunday, April 26th, 5:45-8:45am

Where: CEY Drive between Wyton Drive and Westholme Avenue

Reason: City of Angeles Fun Ride

Impacts: CEY Drive will be closed to southbound traffic. Northbound CEY will remain open. Parking will not be allowed in Lot A, Dickson Court or on CEY Drive (between Wyton and Westholme) from 5 am until 3 pm (parking will be available for customers with a Disabled Placard).

More at

Note that the full event doesn't end until around 3 pm at UCLA and may affect traffic around the campus.

Friday, April 24, 2015

We feel really bad about being ignored

Faithful readers of this blog will know that when an article appeared in a website called Grizzly Bear Project a few days ago about growth in management in UC, we noted some anomalies in the data presented and invited the author to clarify.* Our questions were:

Data questions: Could UC-Davis really have been run by 9 people in 1993 and then over 400 people twenty years later?  You can't run a big campus with 9 people.  If they are really just the very top execs, it seems doubtful *by the same definition* there could be over 400 of them now.  The definitions at the top of your chart show different names for the managerial occupations in 1993 and later.  Are they really comparable?  How many of the positions are on state money? When I clicked on "get the data" on your chart, it just gave me another view of the chart - but not data or specific sources and definitions.

Instead, the same article now appears in Capitol Weekly:

We continue to pose the questions above and invite a response to the questions at

Do the math...but which math?

Inside Higher Ed is running an extensive piece on conflicts at UCLA and Berkeley (but mainly UCLA) over the math requirement for students in life sciences:

For about as long as anyone can remember, most undergraduate natural science majors have been required to take at least two semesters of calculus. Lots of students -- especially those in the life sciences -- don’t end up using most of what they’ve learned later on in their studies or their careers, but the requirement has endured... 

“Our principal complaint with the calculus for life sciences is that it is a horrible and hideous instrument of torture to life sciences students taught by mathematicians who want to make third-rate mathematicians out of our students and get angry when they fail,” said Alan Garfinkel, professor of medicine and physiological science at UCLA, who campaigned for and teaches the new math for life sciences course. Still offered to a limited number of students, the sequence combines two quarters of calculus and one each of probability and statistics into three quarters total, with a lab, and focuses more on biology-based problem sets. “I’m a professional mathematical biologist and I don’t use freshman calculus at all.” ...

Full story at