Sticky post linking you to the most recent Ongoing Harreld Hire Updates.
In August of 2014 I began writing what eventually turned into a series of posts about entertainment and violence. At the time I was interested in understanding the dynamics behind oft-repeated claims that violence in entertainment begets violence in the real word, along with parallel assertions — oft-repeated in the press — that the motive for acts of violence, and in particular acts of mass violence, can be reduced to a certainty. While I had long been interested in the subject matter as a storyteller, particularly having worked in the interactive entertainment industry for many years, the catalyst for digging into the issue was the massacre of schoolchildren at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. That tragedy also marked the moment when I checked out on the calcified gun violence debate, because any country that responds to an atrocity like that with a collective shrug is on its way to cultural collapse.
The problem, of course — beyond the violence itself — is that I did not and still do not feel fatalistic about America. I feel fatalistic about a debate which is so entrenched that it cannot be dislodged by any act of barbarity, including the recent mass killings in Orlando. What is now being described as the single deadliest mass shooting in American history could easily be surpassed tomorrow, and quite easily. There are no protections, there are no steps being taken to prevent the next atrocity, and the horrifying idea that such violence may become the new normal in American culture is already a historical footnote.
If you want to read the posts in order, you can start here. Toward the end of the seventh of eight total posts, however, which were written over a six-month period, I wrote this, in a post about Real-World Violence and Means:
Whether an act of violence is caused by terrorists or a berserk mass murderer, the civilian authorities charged with responding to such emergencies need to have the means of doing so. Because any American citizen has the legal right to own as many weapons as they want, and there is often no way to determine who owns what when police arrive on scene, let alone whether today is the day when a formerly law-abiding citizens is going to go berserk, the police rightly feel they should have military-grade weapons with them at all times because it’s impossible to predict in advance when such weapons may be needed. The militarization of America’s police, then, is simply following in lockstep with the militarization of America, which in turn encourages those who have an axe to grind or who hope to terrorize the populace or destabilize the government to also procure even more destructive weapons. Sprinkle all those firearms and tensions with time, economic pressure, martial discord, substance use, long-simmering hatreds and even mental illness, and not only is it likely that mass murders will increase, it’s likely that the police will eventually become stressed and begin overreacting to any threats they do perceive.
It’s a maddening and vicious cycle, but just when you are convinced that the problem can never be solved, you realize that it will necessarily resolve itself. Yes, a lot of people will die in the interim, but at some point, after enough attacks take place on American soil using ever-more-lethal and legally purchased firearms freely available in the marketplace, either at the hands of foreign terrorists, domestic terrorists, or both, targeting shopping malls, schools, hospitals or even police stations, the sheer amount of blood running in the streets will convince a majority of citizens, and in particular a majority of government officials who themselves may have been targeted, that the 2nd Amendment must be repealed. There will be a lot of wailing along the way, of course, to say nothing of fatalities, but precisely because the 2nd Amendment cannot be infringed it will at some point have to be retired so firearms can be regulated in the interest of public safety.
In the aftermath of the shootings in Orlando you will read a lot of well-intentioned think pieces like this, which will ultimately do nothing to prevent the next Orlando or Sandy Hook from happening. In America, what stands in the way of common-sense gun restrictions that other civilized countries have adopted over the past two hundred years is not a lack of insight into possible solutions, but the industrial franchise granted by the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution.
As noted in the quote above, the 2nd Amendment will inevitably fall of its own weight, but it’s equally true that there is nothing anyone can do in the short term to hasten its demise. What you can do as a citizen, however, is simply flip that switch in your own head, leaping past all of the pros and cons to a simple determination that the 2nd Amendment has outlived its usefulness. If there are negotiations to be had about who can own a gun in America, and what types of guns they are allowed to have, we can have those debates after the 2nd Amendment is gone.
So have that conversation with yourself and your friends. Because that’s the same conversation people had long ago about slavery and women’s suffrage, and more recently about gay marriage, and other cultural changes that have come to pass. It may take a long time for change to come, but it won’t come at all if people aren’t willing to accept it. For me, if it keeps anyone from being shot to death by a berserk American with enough firepower to wage war, I’m willing to accept that change.
— Mark Barrett
I will continue to add updates about J. Bruce Harreld and his illegitimate presidency to this threaded post. When this post scrolls you will be able to find it by clicking the link in the sticky post at the top of the home page. You can also bookmark this post, or search for it using various keywords and phrases, such as Harreld, fraud, co-conspirator, or carpetbagging dilettante.
For previous posts about the Harreld hire, click the tag below.
Please support Gerhild’s lawsuit against the Iowa Board of Regents.
06/24/16 — J. Bruce Harreld and World Class Incoherence.
06/22/16 — J. Bruce Harreld and the UI Faculty Senate.
06/19/16 — The AAUP Sanctions the University of Iowa. Updated.
06/10/16 — Branstad, Rastetter and Harreld, and the $20M Tuition Hike Caper. Updated.
06/07/16 — Branstad, Rastetter and Harreld, and the $1.7M Regents Shortfall. Updated.
06/05/16 — J. Bruce Harreld, Gary Barta, and Bromance. Updated.
Toward the end of last August Chrissie Hynde launched a memoir called Reckless: My Life as a Pretender. In the book and in interviews about the book Hynde placed blame for being raped at the age of 21 squarely on herself:
“This was all my doing and I take full responsibility,” she said. “You can’t paint yourself into a corner and then say whose brush is this? You have to take responsibility. I mean, I was naïve.”
Hynde then added comments which generalized about personal conduct and rape:
“If I’m walking around in my underwear and I’m drunk … Who else’s fault can it be? You know, if you don’t want to entice a rapist, don’t wear high heels so you can’t run from him.
“If I’m walking around and I’m very modestly dressed and I’m keeping to myself and someone attacks me, then I’d say that’s his fault. But if I’m being very (flashy) and putting it about and being provocative, then you are enticing someone who’s already unhinged … that’s just common sense.”
Predictably, social networks exploded in response to Hynde’s comments, mostly because that’s what social networks do, but also because of legitimate concern that Hynde was engaging in victim-blaming, which has a very long and ugly history in the U.S. and around the world. In writing this post I hope to reconcile those valid concerns with Hynde’s comments, because I think rape needs to be understood not only in the context of justice, but in terms of real-world implications which are often difficult to discuss when sloganeering or political correctness rule the rhetorical day. And because I can already see you bristling at the very notion that the question of rape and responsibility is anything but black and white, we will address the black-and-white part first. [ Read more ]
In looking into the administrative mechanics by which the Iowa Board of Regents fraudulently appointed J. Bruce Harreld as president of the University of Iowa, I have been repeatedly surprised by the level of corruption in state government. While purportedly committed to public service, by odd coincidence Governor Terry Branstad, Regents President Bruce Rastetter and various other government administrators are all using the state’s institutions of higher learning for everything from greasing political connections to profiting on investments to finding cushy state-funded jobs and projects for political cronies. As last week’s lightning-fast recess appointment of yet another political crony to the board attests — coming on the heels, as it does, of another crony’s abrupt resignation, just ahead of news that she was on the payroll of a company that landed a massive no-bid contract with University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, of which the Board of Regents are trustees — there remains no inkling that anyone at the state or federal level will ever investigate the corruption which led to J. Bruce Harreld’s hire. [ Read more ]
I did not watch the Super Bowl this year. I could have, and there were a few moments when I was tempted to peek in, but I promised myself I would not, and I did not. In the interest of full disclosure I also cannot claim that abstaining was particularly difficult, because I had zero interest in either of the teams except to the extent that I hoped they might somehow both lose. Still, in a historical context my decision marked a turning point for me, and it is a choice I intend to continue going forward. As hard as it may be — and I suspect it will be a great deal more difficult than I imagine — I have decided to stop watching football at any level for the rest of my life.
In retrospect I am not surprised that I came to that decision, but I am surprised how quickly it took hold. As anyone even remotely aware of athletics knows, there is a serious problem with the game of football, which is that the game itself routinely if not inevitably maims the people who play it. For most of my life it was assumed that the physical damage from football was largely acute, occurring when a tendon ruptured or a bone snapped in two, and anyone who has watched football for any length of time has invariably seen players carted off as a result of such trauma. We now know, however, that there is a more insidious kind of damage which haunts players not only after their playing careers are over, but in some cases even while they are in what should be the prime of their life. This second class of injury may not become fully emergent until decades later, but there is now no question about where that damage comes from, and it comes from playing football. Otherwise healthy and fit — and in many cases extremely fit — human beings are disabled and even die, well before their time, for no other reason than having played the game.
That the first football game I chose to turn away from also happened to be the most celebrated annual event in American sports was not lost on me, but my decision was only incidentally symbolic. I could have watched the Super Bowl this year, then sworn off the game, but I decided I did not want to wait. Starting my football abstinence with the Super Bowl was indicative of my commitment, and I did not want to put off that commitment simply to satisfy my desire to be entertained for a few hours.
Abstaining from the Super Bowl was also not a specific indictment of the professional game. To be sure it is the National Football League which has been the focus of investigation into, and reporting on, long-term negative health effects for players, but the final straw that triggered my decision to stop watching football actually came from the college ranks. Specifically, only a few weeks into what would become my alma mater’s most improbably successful season on the gridiron, news broke that a former player at the University of Iowa — Tyler Sash — had died, in his hometown of Oskaloosa, Iowa, of what was believed to be an accidental drug overdose. Although there had been prior reports of odd behavior and scrapes with the law subsequent to Sash’s retirement from the NFL, nobody thought that his life would come to an end at the age of 27.
While there were certainly concerns that football might have contributed to Sash’s death in some way — perhaps because of chronic physical injuries sustained during his years on the field, and his subsequent need for painkillers — it was also clear that Tyler Sash had walked away from the game relatively unscathed. That assumption seemed to be borne out by findings a month or so later, when it was reported that Sash had died from a toxic mix of painkillers. Tragic, to be sure, but in a country overrun with opiate abuse, hardly an indictment of the game of football, which Sash himself clearly loved.
Not until after the end of the Hawkeye’s surprising season, however, was it learned that Tyler Sash not only had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — a type of brain damage now closely associated with head injury, and particularly with concussion — but the development of the disease was shockingly advanced for someone so young:
The Times report says the severity of CTE in Sash’s brain was similar to the level found in the brain of former NFL hall-of-famer Junior Seau, who committed suicide in 2012 at age 43.
“With Tyler being so young, it’s very surprising to me,” linebacker A.J. Edds, who played at Iowa with Sash in 2008 and 2009, told The Register on Tuesday night. “But when you start looking back and connecting the dots, some of the symptoms and signs were there.
“It’s eye-opening. It tells you about the state and the standing of what football is continuing to do to guys, not just physically but mentally as well.”
The news of Sash’s post-mortem diagnosis broke at the end of January. Because CTE was already in the news at that time, and particularly because Sash played for a New York franchise in the NFL, the findings of his autopsy received national coverage. The news also occasioned deep reflection among several of the long-time beat reporters who cover Hawkeye sports, and their conflicted deliberations matched my own.
The NFL Conference Championships played out on Sunday, January 24th, 2016, only two days before Sash’s CTE was reported in the news. The Super Bowl was scheduled for two weeks later, on Sunday, February 7th. During that two-week period my already growing concerns about football as a sport, as entertainment, as a for-profit business, and as an agent of misery and death, coalesced into the only avenue of action available to me. I decided I would stop watching football, not simply as a means of avoiding what was happening to players at all levels of the sport, but as a means of effecting change, however incrementally. [ Read more ]
A new threaded post on this topic can be found here. For previous posts about the Harreld hire, click the tag below.
05/29/16 — J. Bruce Harreld, Leadership and Sexual Assault.
05/24/16 — Gaming out the Iowa Regent’s Presidential Search at UNI. Updated.
05/19/16 — UNI President Ruud announced that he’s leaving to take a job at a much smaller school. In typical passive-aggressive fashion, the Rastetter-led Board of Regents left Ruud hanging without a contract extension. I expect a closed search predicated on lies told by Rastetter and Robillard after they got caught running the fraudulent search for J. Bruce Harreld at Iowa. There’s no conscience in any of this, and no concern for the students.
05/17/16 — J. Bruce Harreld and the Marcus Owens Case.
05/15/16 — The four candidates for Director of Public Safety at the University of Iowa have been named, and three have visited campus. On that subject, the Des Moines Register gave that department a ‘thorn’ today for the way in which it initially bungled the Marcus Owens case. (Remember when J. Bruce Harreld said there was “no there, there“? Good times.)
05/13/16 — A few thoughts about this weekend’s UI graduation ceremony. Updated.
05/11/16 — J. Bruce Harreld and Collaborative Budgeting.
05/08/16 — J. Bruce Harreld and the Question of Trust.
05/06/16 — On Wednesday, Brad Pector put up a well-argued and well-sourced post on J. Bruce Harreld, right into the teeth of a media storm. If you missed it, it’s worth a read for the insight it gives into Harreld’s obliviousness.
05/04/16 — J. Bruce Harreld at Six Months.
05/03/16 — J. Bruce Harreld: Hate Speech Victim.
05/01/16 — J. Bruce Harreld, Misogyny and UI Athletics.
04/28/16 — A few notes on the resignation of Regent Mary Andringa. Updated.
04/27/16 — J. Bruce Harreld Pulls a Fast One.
04/24/16 — J. Bruce Harreld and the Gartner Plan. Updated.
A new threaded post on this topic can be found here. For previous posts about the Harreld hire, click the tag below.
04/21/16 — J. Bruce Harreld and the Daily Iowan Interview. Updated.
04/18/16 — J. Bruce Harreld and Campus Sexual Assault. Updated.
03/27/16 — Regents President Rastetter Makes a New Claim.
03/23/16 — Dr. Robillard and Col. Kurtz.
03/21/16 — The University of Iowa has begun advertising for a new Director of Public Safety. This is a small but important step in dealing with the intertwined issues of alcohol abuse and sexual assault on campus. The obvious concern, of course, is that the last nationwide search at the University of Iowa resulted in the hiring of someone who was fundamentally unqualified for the position he now holds.
03/16/16 — J. Bruce Harreld and the Raise.me Rollout.
03/14/16 — At the recent University of Iowa town hall, business genius and Harvard MBA J. Bruce Harreld said, during what is now infamously known as the Peanut Butter Fillibuster: “In economics, [it] is the notion that you actually could, without cutting, take resources and put more of them over other areas than all the areas at the same times. Some areas get more, and some get less. That’s not a cut.” Yesterday, in a guest column on the Gazette site, UI Professor Ahmed E. Souaiaia wrote that disabled students at the University of Iowa are now getting less peanut butter. I’m sure those students look forward to Harreld explaining how the reallocation of peanut butter away from services for disabled students is not a cut.
03/13/16 — J. Bruce Harreld and Shared Governance.
03/09/16 — Gender Discrimination and the Harreld Hire.
03/06/16 — J. Bruce Harreld: “There’s no there, there.”
03/05/16 — I am working on a post about the Visin debacle, but I need to wait for my keyboard to cool down so I can backspace through all the swearing. In the meantime, you should consider reading Bleeding Heartland’s excellent post on the same subject.
03/03/16 — J. Bruce Harreld and Transformational Change. Updated 03/04/16.
03/02/16 — Simon Newman, the ‘non-traditional’ president at Mount St. Mary’s college, resigned on Monday. If you read nothing else today, read Jack Striplng’s excellent report in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Then remind yourself that when J. Bruce Harreld wasn’t impressing himself at IBM, he was driving two companies into bankruptcy.
02/28/16 — J. Bruce Harreld: the Liar and the Lie.
A new threaded post on this topic can be found here. For previous posts about the Harreld hire, click the tag below.
02/23/16 — The Incredible Shrinking J. Bruce Harreld. Updated.
02/21/16 — J. Bruce Harreld and Iowa’s National Rank.
02/20/16 — Solid reporting from Jeff Charis-Carlson here and Vanessa Miller here, regarding the recent Iowa Board of Regents’ ‘public hearings’, which are in fact neither public nor a hearing. Props to the 10 people who took the time to speak out despite the premeditated, calculated, ruthless technological indignity perpetrated against them.
Solid analysis here from Bleeding Heartland, regarding J. Bruce Harreld’s burgeoning corporate leadership culture at the University of Iowa. Run it like a business indeed.
02/15/16 — J. Bruce Harreld and Faculty Vitality.
02/13/15 — If you’ve been following the sham hire of J. Bruce Harreled at Iowa, you may find the parallels in the hiring of Simon Newman at Mount St. Mary startling. Or maybe not.
“Becoming a college president wasn’t on Mr. Newman’s radar, he told the board, until his wife stumbled across an online job posting and talked him into applying. He threw his hat into the ring in September 2014, on the last day applications were being accepted.”
‘Transformational change’, no experience in academic administration, claims that Newman was a ‘quick study’, it’s all there, and all of it facilitated by a board leader with a business background and a raging ego. Oh — and they also had no problem putting the needs of students last, then lying about their treachery in a moralizing tone.
02/11/16 — Regents President Rastetter, Transformational Change and UIHC. Updated.
02/10/16 — Every time I think we’ve finally hit bottom in the fetid sleaze surrounding the Harreld hire, there is a new low. Today Jean Robillard — one of the co-conspirators in J. Bruce Harreld’s fraudulent appointment as president of the University of Iowa, and a serial liar in that regard — was named Dean of Medicine at Iowa, while also retaining his position as Vice President for Medical Affairs. No word on whether a salary increase is involved, but it sure looks like the man is getting paid.
02/09/16 — I’ll have more to say about this in future posts regarding the uncomfortable parallels with J. Bruce Harreld, but if you’re a student at UI, or on staff or a member of the faculty, you need to read this Washington Post story about what is happening at Mount St. Mary’s college in Maryland. And if you don’t think that kind of despotic abuse of power can happen at a large state school, remember that the fraudulent hire of J. Bruce Harreld was state-sponsored and sanctioned at the highest levels of state government.
01/31/16 — Bruce Rastetter’s $20M Board of Regents Giveaway (At Least).
01/29/16 — An update from the Press-Citizen regarding the ‘crony polls previously noted on 01/19/16. Request denied.
01/26/16 — Regents President Rastetter and the Status Quo.
01/22/16 — Rastetter, Robillard and the Sham Harreld Search.
01/19/16 — Bleeding Heartland has an excellent post up about how the Strawn/Matthes no-bid crony contracts betray J. Bruce Harreld’s hypocrisy. Update: “UI Failed to Open Letter from FOIC“. Because of course.
01/17/16 — J. Bruce Harreld and Origin Story #3.
01/08/16 — Two stories you should be aware of this week. It will take a while to unpack them, but that’s in the works. From Vanessa Miller, yesterday, in the Gazette: UI president to participate in business course dissecting IBM turnaround. From Jeff Charis-Carlson, today, in the Press-Citizen: Harreld will continue to answer critics via email. Regarding the former, note that the requirements for teaching students are different from being an administrator. Regarding the latter, note that March is not in ‘late spring’.
12/30/15 — J. Bruce Harreld — the Rastetter-Branstad Candidate.
12/29/15 — A question about Mark Braun, the Iowa Board of Regents’ highest paid employee (by far), and those no-bid crony contracts at the University of Iowa.
12/28/15 — The Metaphorical J. Bruce Harreld. Updated 12/29/15.
12/21/15 — The Quad City times weighs in on cronyism at the University of Iowa. “As if this bit of putrid meat wasn’t rank enough…”
12/20/15 — AAUP Investigator Finkin Goes Rogue.
12/18/15 — Jean Robillard’s $10K Flight of Fancy.
12/16/15 — Something’s tightening, but I don’t think it’s the Iowa Board of Regents bid policy.
12/15/15 — J. Bruce Harreld: Frequent Flyer Bonus Miles.
12/11/15 — What the AAUP Report Means to Iowans.
12/10/15 — J. Bruce Harreld: Frequent Flyer.
12/08/15 Are you tired of playing fair and actually earning your successes in life? Then you should cut a deal with Bruce Rastetter. Updated 12/09/15.
12/07/15 — J. Bruce Harreld in his own words. 2 Videos. 2 Origin Stories.
11/21/15 — When a ‘vocal minority’ rallied on Friday to apologize to J. Bruce Harreld, the UI’s own Rod Lehnertz noted — perhaps unintentionally — that the vast majority of community and business leaders were not in attendance, and thus did not support the fraudulently elected Harreld.
11/19/15 — A few thoughts about UI traitor Jean Robillard and the ongoing AAUP investigation.
11/18/15 — For months Jean Robillard tells a consistent lie about needing J. Bruce Harreld to save UIHC. Harreld repays Robillard by both confirming and betraying the lie on the exact same day.
11/16/15 — It’s early May, 2015, and Jean Robillard is hard at work, betraying the University of Iowa.
11/13/15 — Jean Robillard, UIHC, and the axes of power behind the carpetbagging dilettante on the University of Iowa throne.
11/12/15 — With his Harvard MBA neutered, J. Bruce Harreld gets religion on campus culture.
11/11/15 — Hiring a Harvard MBA to run a university is not thinking outside the box. It is the box.
11/11/15 — Christopher Brochu writes an open letter to J. Bruce Harreld.
11/10/15 — Click here for nagging questions about the previously undisclosed secret meeting in early June, which was arranged by Jerre Stead, and attended by J. Bruce Harreld, Regents President Bruce Rastetter, Search Chair Jean Robillard and staffer Peter Matthes.
11/09/15 — In 2012 the visionary Missouri Board of Curators bought themselves a ticking liability by hiring a president with no academic administrative experience. Today that liability blew up in their collective transformational faces. (Comment here.)
11/07/15 — The evolving J. Bruce Harreld origin story, and where it inevitably leads.
11/07/15 — Now that Iowa Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter has his man at the helm at Iowa, what can the students, faculty and staff expect? To be used as a six-figure political retirement community. Job not advertised, no search conducted — just cold hard cash.
11/06/15 — From the Gazette’s Vanessa Miller, on J. Bruce Harreld and the world of inter-collegiate athletics, which Harreld also knows nothing about:
Harreld said he’s committed to winning on the field but is more concerned with the department’s comprehensive value statement of ‘Win, Graduate and Do It Right.’
“I believe very strongly in the three-legged stool,” Harreld said. “I told Gary the winning is yours; I’m all about the integrity and the academics. I’ll do everything I can to support that.”
(My take here.)
11/05/15 — Vanessa Miller of the Gazette reports on J. Bruce Harreld’s new venture: co-chairing a committee on monetizing the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City corridor.
— Mark Barrett