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This just in from the Los Angeles Times, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has just been named the next president of the University of California system!

Janet Napolitano, the U.S. secretary of Homeland Security and former governor of Arizona, is being named as the next president of the University of California system, in an unusual choice that brings a national-level politician to a position usually held by an academic, the Times has learned. Her appointment also means the 10-campus system will be headed by a woman for the first time in its 145-year history.

Napolitano’s nomination by a committee of UC regents came after a secretive process that insiders said focused on her early as a high-profile, although untraditional, candidate who has led large public agencies and shown a strong interest in improving education.

UC officials believe that her Cabinet experiences –- which include helping to lead responses to hurricanes and tornadoes and overseeing some anti-terrorism measures -- will help UC administer its federal energy and nuclear weapons labs and aid its federally funded research in medicine and other areas.


A source close to Napolitano, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said that Napolitano deliberated for a long time after the executive search firm hired by UC quietly contacted her.

“I think she loves working for President Obama and serving the American people, but at the same time, this is a unique opportunity,” he said. Napolitano knows “UC is probably the premier institution in the country. She is motivated by the fact that being a part of UC, she will be a part of educating future leaders of tomorrow and be part of a state that sets so much of the agenda nationally.”

I'm not sure yet quite what to make of this.  This is definitely an out-of-the-box pick to head the UC system.

So... who takes over at DHS?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Time for McConnell to begin obstructing. (4+ / 0-)

    Care to guess long the nomination to replace her will take?

  •  Shut down "Homeland Security" (5+ / 0-)

    We already have the FBI, CIA, NSA, ICE, and a massive military.

  •  OMG!!!!! (8+ / 0-)

    So this is what it has come too. The qualifications for leading the world's foremost public educational system no longer have anything to do with scholarship and academic administration. What is wanted is a security expert to keep the lid on and the students under control.

  •  This is a bold pick (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    luckylizard, jj32, wintergreen8694

    From an insider with whom I am very close, this pick came out of the blue. The other front-runner was another former Dem Guv woman, Jennifer Granholm.

    I think that a woman is heading the largest research University system in the world is a big deal.

    Global warming & smoking cigarettes = Nothing to worry about? Those who deny climate science are ignorant, evil or worse. Google Fred Singer.

    by LaughingPlanet on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 07:33:27 AM PDT

  •  UC is at the forefront of defense research (7+ / 0-)

    This selection makes perfect sense when you think about the nexus between information and advanced defense research projects. In some ways it's scary because it's a virtual admission that the U.S.'s largest university system is now fully integrated with the Security Industrial Complex. This goes far beyond management of the old AEC weapons labs. Snowden's revelations have shown that Information Technology research and development has been captured by the Security Industrial Complex.

    All your information belongs to US.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 07:35:32 AM PDT

  •  So, why is she resigning then? (0+ / 0-)

    Not to become the head of the CA university system, or do you think so?

  •  I work for DHS (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaughingPlanet, luckylizard, jj32

    We just got an email from the secretary at the same time the news broke with the NYT. She's planning to stay on until September, fwiw.

    As for replacements, my money is on Thad Allen or Bill Bratton. Neither would face any opposition in the Senate.

  •  CFR member Janet Napolitano. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That's what they do, they command the education system as well.

    "America is the Terror State. The Global War OF Terror is a diabolical instrument of Worldwide conquest."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 07:38:52 AM PDT

  •  Former AZ Gov and AG who kept the lid on the (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    luckylizard, Chas 981, FG, wintergreen8694

    crazy in AZ while she was there.  Maybe they admire her superior management skills.  The top job at a sprawling university empire like UC isn't about academics.  The individual campus chancellors are in the academic front lines.

    She will have to work with the Cali pols for the benefit of the UC system and that would make her good fit.

    Similarly, Mitch Daniels who went from Indiana Gov to Purdue president.

    •  Mitch is treating it like a sinecure. (0+ / 0-)

      This is not a criticism of Mitch Daniels.  Neglect is sometimes benign.

      He's bringing his cronies is, which seems to be SOP at the university level.  His most radical move so far was to declare a tuition freeze and nix raises for administrators earning over $50,000.  (Oddly enough, the faculty senate convinced him to let highly-paid admins qualify for raises.)  He also made it a bit easier for students to retain patent rights to their discoveries.  

      He also made lots of outrageous, anti-teacher statements in the months before he took the job while embarking on a listening tour to at least pretend the he had the faculty's concerns at heart.  

      "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

      by Yamaneko2 on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 09:24:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  UC Presidents don't get cut much slack, at least (0+ / 0-)

        recently. So NO sinecure here. The open question, and I'm giving my personal opinion as an alumnus and long time employee of UCB but NOT in an official capacity, is that her administrative experience, as such and in the abstract, is more important than academic qualifications, providing she can make friends with the faculty (who have already had to put up with a lot lately).

        Will she keep a lid on upper administrative salaries, and the proliferation of such positions, or not? That's the single most important question. The California taxpayers and legislature, not known for their generosity, will have a cow- in fact multiple, genetically-modified cows- if she allows past practices to continue (google "UC San Diego Chancellor Fox pay").

        Beyond that the question of weapons research has come to be pushed off center stage by the increasing importance of biotechnology and partnerships with industry. UC-Business partnerships that are too sweet for the corporations will also give taxpayers the grumpies.

        I am very curious to see how this plays out.

    •  one reason why the UC has been such a mess (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      since schwarzeneggar snuck in with the recall and appointed  bankers, real estate moguls and insurance execs as regents, is that the management of the UC has not been about academics. it's a profit-making enterprise using a university as a tax shelter. we've had brutal police crackdowns every two years, every time tuition goes up.

      •  May I suggest that the decline in the UC system (0+ / 0-)

        Started with Ronald Reagan and S.I. Hayakawa?

        Just sayin'...

        I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

        by tom 47 on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 12:17:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  began, yes (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          but the real death spiral kicked in after the recall, when schwarzeneggar and dianne feinstein's husband richard blum got together and planned the destruction of the UC. exponential tuition hikes, dodgy investments, privatization, the whole nine yards.

          •  Sorry, I guess I'm probably just a lot older (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wu ming

            than you, so my point of reference goes back further.

            And my enmity for Reagan is intergenerationally personal at my house:

            Reagan tried (unsuccessfully) to take money from the California Teachers Retirement Fund (this is before it was part of CalPers, I think - - roughly 1968 or 69?) in order to transfer it to the general fund to balance the California state budget.  My mother taught school for many years, and was still teaching at that time ( I was in junior high school), and that kind of cemented our views of Reagan while I was growing up.  

            Today, I like to say that my now 90+ y o Mom is continuing to enjoy her teachers' retirement, and Ronald Reagan is ....


            I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

            by tom 47 on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:14:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  no, i know what you're talking about (0+ / 0-)

              i'm just speaking to the rate of collapse. reagan was a bastard, but schwarzeneggar and blum did more to undermine the UC.

              •  Yes, it started then, (0+ / 0-)

                but took further steps over the decades to REALLY destroy higher education in California.  There was a LOT of good to be torn down.

                When I was growing up, the UC and CSC system was THE best public higher education system in the US.  And I'll argue that with anyone who brings their lunch.

                I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

                by tom 47 on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:52:30 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Obama should nominate a Latino or a Muslim. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Just to make the white sheets come out before an election as a tool to drive the extremists out into the open.

    "See?  Here is your Republican Party.  Everything they say is a lie. Look at how they really are"

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 08:15:13 AM PDT

  •  Interesting (0+ / 0-)

    While she certainly has extensive administrative skill, negotiating skill gained while Governor here in AZ, dealing with our heinous Legislature, I have to say I  think her lack of background in Academia could be a negative for UC. I guess I'd want to know more about the requirements of the job to say more on that other than I think it is probably a better move for her than for UC.  

    I think DHS should be dismantled back into its former components, but I doubt that will happen.

    Society is like a stew. If you don't stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top. ~Edward Abbey

    by cosmic debris on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 08:52:53 AM PDT

  •  Maybe he should tag (0+ / 0-)

    Jan Brewer.  Give her a probationary period of, say, 60-90 days, and cut a deal with it.  "If this doesn't work, you have to approve my next choice, no bitching".

    Even in 2 months, I'm sure Brewer could make a total has of it, and show those willing to see what a joke she (and her cronies) is(are).

    Or maybe not.  Just throwing out(up) ideas.

    I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

    by trumpeter on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 09:08:04 AM PDT

  •  Nominate Chris Christie (without telling him)... (0+ / 0-)

    Your President needs you!  Former NJ District Attorney, Governor, personal up-close experience with natural disasters/storms - claim he is uniquely qualified to keep America safe and then have him have to turn it down because of his own personal ambition.  

    If you're not talking about what billionaire hedgefund bankster Peter G. Peterson is up to you're having the wrong conversations.

    by Jacoby Jonze on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 10:01:17 AM PDT

  •  words fail (0+ / 0-)

    the UC regents aren't even pretending to give a shit about academics anymore.

  •  Could have been worse choices. (0+ / 0-)

    My dad was a prof. with UC his entire career.  Most of my family has graduated from one UC campus or another.  To say my family has a vested interest in the legacy of UC is an understatement.
     I find this an interesting, if unusual, choice for now; I'll defer final judgment until I see how she handles things.  Though  I'm somewhat relieved it wasn't someone worse, like a Wall St. insider or anti-science teabagger type.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 10:41:36 AM PDT

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