Odds and ends

On the good side, it’s Bastille Day, and I survived my biweekly killer workout.1 On the other hand, I’m depressed about virtually everything involving the prosecution of George Zimmerman, and not concentrating well as a result. So just a few bits and pieces today:

  • I am still bewildered that the prosecution of Zimmerman first chose a high-risk strategy of only one charge (second-degree murder) and then pursued it incompetently.2 Florida has a culpable negligence statute, which appears to my lay eyes to fit the circumstances as a first-degree misdemeanor if not murder or manslaughter. At this point, I’ll just reminder everyone that stupidity happens in your area, too, and the United States is a recovering racist nation, taking it one day at a time.
  • I have decided to torture myself this month by reading a good portion of materials related to the de-accreditation of the City College of San Francisco (see coverage on July 3 by Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education). Every step I wade into the mess, it becomes clearer how much the multiple layers of the situation comprise a fotal tustercluck.
  • On the much-better-news side, the federal government is finally going after the ratings services that contributed to the 2007-08 financial meltdown through their see-no-evil approach to rating collateral debt obligations and other financial derivatives. Those who cover Moody’s moody and ridiculous pronouncements about higher ed should always mention this in future articles. I’m looking at you, Kevin Kiley and Sara Grossman.
  • Also in better news, tomorrow morning my college welcomes our new dean, Vasti Torres. A week later, she goes through the HR new-hire process, with all of its paperwork. I’m having a medical procedure the same day, and the main difference is, I get anaesthesia. More seriously, the HR new-hire process has its rationality, and there are some very good pieces of it for new employees, but it’s generally designed around staff needs rather than faculty or administrators, where it isn’t a mandatory-paperwork collection time. I’m curious how she’ll experience and see USF as an outsider coming in; this is a benefit from outside administrator or senior faculty hires, to get an experienced and fresh perspective.
  • I still haven’t followed up on my lashon hora etc. post about faculty misbehavior, but in working on a follow-up, I realized I had failed to point out that the vast majority of cases where I or my colleagues make social errors, it’s at a much-lower-than-asshole level. As both a department chair and former union chapter president, I’ve seen plenty of stuff that’s better handled by more subtle redirection/education or a silent “I see what you did there” sigh to myself. The bulk of such things are irritations or minor and unnecessary fibs at most. If you’d likely just sigh at your teenager over it, why would you go ballistic with a colleague?

I hope you are having a good and peaceful day.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader, and sign up for my irregular newsletter below!


  1. This does not mean I’m in good shape but that I’m in better shape than if I had stayed home. []
  2. The judge apparently gave the jury the option of manslaughter, though it wasn’t on the original charge sheet. []