Monday, September 29, 2003
Good work, Daily Cal folks, for correcting your mistake. I was shocked that you even bothered. I wonder if anyone will notice how absurdly important that clarification is.
. . .
Noo! Unpolitical Asians!
The APA insists that low Asian involvement in politics is a "problem." There's not a whole lot of evidence to support this. Maybe they just don't care about broader ideals, and just worry about themselves. The world would be a much better place if more people did that. Once again, asians are the "model minority."
Officials said they have been negotiating with the union nonstop since Sunday. One has to wonder how exactly they had time to tell the Daily Cal that, what with doing nonstop negotiating and all.
Go APPLE! That's the engineer's spirit: Get those extra quarters back "on principle." Sure, a buck or so isn't a whole lot to entice people to sign a petition, but as is pointed out, on the government side, if ASUC starts seeing large holes appear in its budget due to student backlash, they might be enticed to be less CalSERVE. Money trumps ideals.
BAMN's pissed. You know that when BAMN's pissed, somebody made a good decision.
. . .
Daily Cal article. It doesn't mention much that the Daily Planet hasn't already, and includes errors:
"Furthermore, although the Southworth ruling allows student governments to lobby, ASUC officials are at odds with each other over whether the term incorporates campaigning on ballot initiatives."
A little fact-checking, as the BDP did, and as I did, will point out that the Southworth ruling does not allow student governments to lobby, but rather it allows universities to allow student governments to lobby. UC has not done this, and Southworth doesn't change that. Shame, Daily Cal, shame. Spread the word. At the very least, present this interpretation of the issue. You're doing a disservice to your readers. Ask Boalt Law guy Jesse Choper like the Planet did, I'm sure he'll tell you the same thing. The way it's written, The Daily Cal is claiming an inaccuracy as a fact.
Although Graduate Assembly President Jessica Quindel originally said the $35,000 went directly to the campaign, the ASUC now claims that the student government is, in fact, a student group.
"The ASUC is a registered student organization, so the ASUC in some ways can be seen as a student group," said Anu Joshi, ASUC external affairs vice president.
UC policies state that student governments are official units of the system and are subject to those same regulations on expenditures.
This isn't just a nomenclatural confuzzlement. If you were to claim that the ASUC was a student group, you would have to wonder how it is that the ASUC can possibly be charged with allocating money to the ASUC in the same manner as it allocates money to other student groups. If the ASUC was just a student group, it would have no authority to allocate compulsory student fees. The fact that it does have that authority removes it from the authority that student groups have when it comes to political spending. It's not just a student group the way BCR is, but rather it's an extension of UC. If it wants to be a student group, I wholeheartedly encourage it to be one, but that would mean it would have to do independent fundraising, and stop demanding fees from students.
Still, if ASUC is deemed a student group, then it must explain how another student group, the Berkeley College Republicans, could not use ASUC funds for security costs at UC Regent Ward Connerly's speech—at the same time the Graduate Assembly sent $35,000 to campaign against Proposition 54.
Well, it's about time BCR gets into the fight. BCR is perhaps the only group with both the standing and the motivation to take any action on this issue. Even if ASUC is not a student group, BCR still has some claim to ASUC funds because it is an ASUC-sponsored registered student group. (whether that claim extends to providing security for the speech is a different issue)
. . .
Excessively lettered verbalizations show qualities of positivity
Mad Max is back, after all. First of all, I had to read a ways down until I found what I thought was the punchline... did Edward Said die? If so, then there's no point in arguing with his points, because dead guys are always wrong.
As far as unnecessarily long words go... you're not fooling anyone, asswipe. Yeah, I said asswipe. "linguistic virtuosity"? "puncture in the ideological front"? "his debonair allure and impeccable diction"? Grow up. Prove yourself smart by actually saying intelligent things, not "intelligent" words. If you read through all the long words and the quotes, all you've got is a slobbering deference towards some dead guy. No independent thought at all. Way to go, Mack. Way to break those barriers of ignorance.
On a related front, "intellectuals" can all go to hell. Yeah, I could try to make a living by sitting around complaining all day, too, but unlike some folks, I've got an ounce of shame that won't let me do that. I blog for free. Admittedly, nobody would ever pay for this drivel, but even if someone was willing to pay me a wage I could live on just for complaining, I'd still finish my education and go find myself a real job. I'd work for free if I had to. So, for those of you who think "intellectualizing" and "philosophizing" count as a career choice, just remember one thing: Your job depends on the existence of an opposition. If your opponent was ever defeated by your great work, you'd be required to either quit and get a real job, or find some new opponent. Eternal search for truth, justice, and right my ass.
Check out this choice quote: "spotless hardship credentials (1948 refugee banished from Al-Quds/Jerusalem)" That's right. Having bad things happen to you makes you qualified to speak on behalf of the people living vaguely in the same area even though it's been 55 years since you've been there. I think Hitchens gets the point here. I stubbed my toe. Can I write a book?
. . .
C is for Complain, that's good enough for me
I don't really have much to say about Random J. Blowhard's visit to campus, but I do want to draw attention to this quote:
"A constantly shifting rationale is a clear signal that the underlying agenda is quite different than the actual agenda."
Pardon? Shouldn't one of those been the "apparent agenda" or some such?
. . .
Cut them free!
Stop giving wannabe-politicians money, dammit! ASUC wants to give the Cal Lobby Corps $8,000. Newsflash! Cal Lobby Corps isn't going to change it's lobbying plans even if the ASUC pays its dues. Just don't bother.
At this year's annual August meeting, the association decided to lobby for education funding, outreach programs and environmental sustainability.
Educational funding and outreach make sense to me. But environmental sustainability? How non-student can you get? Leave that crap to CalPIRG.
Executive Veep Taina Gomez: "It's really sad that UCB hasn't been as active in the past few years because that has really limited how much we've been able to do with the regents and lobbying in D.C."
Lobbying in D.C.? How about lobbying in Sacramento? Where it matters? Don't worry, though. Nobody with the money cares what a bunch of students think. Save us all a bit of cash and cut UCSA loose. What're they gonna' do? "Regents, we want you to reduce student fees everywhere except Berkeley, because they suck. Seriously."
. . .
Saturday, September 27, 2003
Please, please, make it stop
I saw something horrible today. It's the kind of sight which can keep a guy up all night. It was one of them one-shoulder t-shirts which look like they got torn by some assailant looking for an easy rape. Those shirts bother me in general, but this one was even worse, because it had this statement on it:
Or Go Home
It was quite epiphanic. You see, all my life, I had figured that the "Go" in "Go Team" meant something like "go do well and represent us and kick some ass," as in "you go, girl," and that the comma in "Go, Bears" was dropped out for convenience. But this usage of go doesn't make a lick of sense in "Go Bears or Go Home." Either the Bears should do well or your house should do well? What? Besides, who are you telling to go home? The Bears? They already are home.
It must, then, be sort of a cultish plea for support, as in "Join the dark side and be a Bears slave, or turn your sorry ass around and go home." In this case, "Go" would have to mean "become one of those who is a Bear or supporter" or some such, in the sense of "Go vegan." This is a little disturbing, though, because it means that absolutely none of "Go Bears" is actually directed towards the Bears.
Maybe more punctuation was dropped out, and "Go Bears or Go Home" was actually a simplified version of "'Go Bears' or Go Home." As in "Say 'Go Bears' or Go Home." It fits, I suppose, but it doesn't settle.
. . .
Who wants what?
54-gate. Funny. The more I hear, the less sense it starts to make. Remember, it doesn't matter what you think, it matters what people want.
The University: The university administration probably has one major goal throughout this whole thing: Make it go away and never come back. The university probably couldn't care less about prop 54, student independence, supreme court cases, or shady financial dealings. Number one on their plate is to keep this from getting in the way of everything else. So far, their actions have been minimal, and directed primarily towards avoiding lawsuits. If they feel that the only way to prevent this from happening again is to modify the authority of the student government, than they'll probably do that. Otherwise, they'll leave things as it is. Right and wrong don't figure into it at all.
Jessica Quindel: On the very other side of the coin is GA prez Quindel, who now sees this as a holy war. So far, from her statements and actions, it's pretty clear that she's acting in accordance with what she believes should be allowed, and is completely ignoring what actually is allowed. She's not going to budge unless she's actively removed with enforcement actions, rather than just regulations.
CalSERVE: They may as well call themselves Quin'sBITCH, because it appears they have every intention of following Quindel like so many cultists, or at least of not speaking out against her. Anu Joshi may as well be Quindel's echo.
Kris Cuaresma-Prim: Until he signed his name to a rather weak defense of the actions of the GA, I had imagined that Kris was just going to sit this one out. Had he done so, he almost certainly would've sailed smoothly by without getting hit by this thing, the way Taina Gomez and Gustavo Mata have, by keeping their mouths more or less shut. Since Kris is just a smiling face anyway, there's no real reason for him to put himself on the line for Quindel and Anu Joshi. If he's going to join the cult of Quindel, though, he's setting himself up to crash and burn.
Student Action: Aside from a single, anemic letter, Student Action has kept pretty much silent on this. Maybe they don't want to be seen as trying to take political advantage, but without their voice, the discussion has become one about what kind of power the student government should have (some or none), rather than one of who should be in charge (Student Action or CalSERVE). Unless Student Action presents itself as a legitimate alternative to CalSERVE which doesn't get into these kinds of messes, they aren't going to benefit at all. "Sure, we waste money, but we don't get sued over it."
The Daily Cal: The Daily Cal has been ripping into ASUC and the GA, possibly in righteous retaliation for Quindel's attempt to muzzle them. It was, in fact, The Daily Cal which made this an issue, as before their "aggresive investigative report," (which was devoid of concern for the issue outside The Daily Cal) no one seemed to care. (I find it hard to believe that people didn't know money was to be spent on the issue. Quindel and Joshi weren't exactly secretive about their goals) After their victory over the SOB, this is The Daily Cal's editorial staff's defining moment, and a perfect opportunity to recover from last year's flaccid news coverage.
The Daily Planet: While not really involved, I was rather shocked to find that while I wasn't paying attention, The Daily Planet had become an effective supplemental news source. The story behind the SOB-Daily Cal fights was covered in The Planet, and The Planet was the paper which gave the analysis of the Supreme Court decisions that CalSERVE was invoking to defend itself, not The Daily Cal.
Blogworld: Finally, something to write about.
Notably missing here is anyone who really has reason to sue. It may be that all this flapping may be to avoid an issue which isn't an issue. Maybe.
. . .
Friday, September 26, 2003
The Chron talks about the gender issue raised with the whole exchange thing between Arianna Huffington and Arnie. Arianna doesn't do much to dispel the stereotype of women as whiny, feeling-driven, self-righteous bitches, that's for sure.
Arnie... is Arnie.
Arianna took the opportunity to raise real, thought-provoking questions about Bush's capacity to lead... in a California recall debate. She just had to say what she felt like saying, I guess.
"I had no idea that 'the woman thing' would be an issue." Score one for the "voluntarily ignorant women" stereotype.
"When she said, 'that's how he treats women,' I thought that was completely unnecessary. I liked her before, but after hearing that I thought she sounded like an angry carpool mom."
. . .
Also in the OWNED department, The Daily Cal kicked the SOB's ass. Apparently, as soon as the SOB found out The Daily Cal had a better offer, they folded faster than origami. Oh, I mean, "We just wanted to move on with this issue." It would be very odd to see if The Daily Planet, of all folks, saved the Daily Cal.
. . .
From the Sea
Another point on the Supreme Court case the Clam raises is that the wording of the opinion suggests that since Wisconsin's student fees for the government come from referendums among the students or some such, it was okay to spend the money in ways the government would not be allowed to. Since this is not the case here at Cal, the decision wouldn't hold.
. . .
Good news... or is it?
A letter from Prezident Kris, and a few other folks who probably did all the reasearch suggests that recent Supreme Court cases may show that CalSERVE's actions regarding Prop 54 are legal. They say that student rights to use mandatory student fees are protected. The two issues are:
a) No on Prop 54 is a student group, just like any other student group, and student groups can do political thingies.
b) Southworth v. University of Wisconsin, a Supreme Court case, gives student groups the authority to spend money on these things.
BUT! In a sight stranger than the bicyclist I saw today carrying his crutches, I found that The Daily Planet has this issue covered rather well.
As far as a) goes, the No on 54 comapaign has far too close ties to the ASUC and GA to be considered seperate, according to the UC Office of the President. "If UC officials determine the campaign was actually an extension of the student government, it would be illegal..." UCOP may, of course determine that it wasn't an extension of the student government, not out of any truth, but just to bury the issue (which is probably best for UCOP).
On the supreme court case, here is the opinion. "The First Amendment permits a public university to charge its students an activity fee used to fund a program to facilitate extracurricular student speech, provided that the program is viewpoint neutral." Is it viewpoint neutral? Since no one (that I know of) went asking for "Yes on Prop 54" funds, the case can't really be made that the funding was not viewpoint neutral. (Do a google search to learn more on the case)
But the key word in the decision is "permits." There is no requirement. While there is talk of modifying the UC Policy on Student Governments, no changes had been made by the time of the Prop 54 funding, so it's not really relevant. (even if you look at one of the new policies, it doesn't allow funding of such things, only taking positions on them) This means that while the university has the capacity to make such spending legal, it is under no obligation to do so. This means that the UC Policy on Student Governments is in no way overruled or obsolete.
The UCOP knows these things, but students in general do not. All they've heard is what's written in Prez Kris's letter. Spread the word, Daily Cal!
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Thursday, September 25, 2003
Duh duh duh
Check this out. Punchline:
The survey, authorized by the Berkeley City Council Sept. 9, polled Berkeley voters on the prospect of increasing property taxes to help raise revenue for an estimated $8 million to $10 million budget shortfall next year.
Well duh! How many of those polled even owned any property they pay taxes on? "Do you support having other people pay more money so we can give you more stuff?" Hmm....
. . .
Melanin on the fall
In Michelle Myers's weekly "Hey, look, I'm black" column, she makes the following claims:
1. "The disturbing part is that race is a social construction with no biological constrictions..."
Whoa, somebody didn't pay attention in biology. Go compare estrogen levels with an asian woman. I hope she's not going to try to convince us that hormones don't affect our behavior.
2. "...social boxes and categories are an important tool of society's thought-controlling power."
Keep in mind that her position on prop 54 is to defend these boxes and categories.
3. I have to see race everyday because America's watchtower would prefer for me to forget my ethnic identity and subsequently my cultural history, and pass down this historical disconnection to generations after me. Thinking about the watchtower reminds me of my position in society and my inability to step outside of my perspective and personal experiences."
This description, if you read it, tells you a pretty obvious thing... she's holding on to her seperate cultural identity out of spite for this "tower." This is important, because it means that she's doing it because she wants to, not because she has to, as she claims all over the place. This thus means that she doesn't have great grounds for complaining about the problems of identifying with her black culture. That'd be like me complaining about the problems I face because I blog. ("Oh, but I had to blog, because the student culture would prefer me to forget my abberant assumptions about right and wrong...")
4. "I do not have... the luxury of ignoring how race is coincidentally correlated with various social issues."
Another problem that could be easily remedied with Prop 54.
5. "I cannot expect to effectively participate in American society in the future without knowing how my history affects my social position."
Do you know what my history is? Neither do I. My worries tend to be future-oriented. Yeah, maybe my parents came from whatever that country's called, and there was oppression or something, but it doesn't help me to pay attention to it. Instead, I worry about carving my own cultural niche out. Sure, it's made up of bits and pieces of the culture around me, and is heavily based on my "history," but it doesn't make that culture any less mine, nor does knowing about it's history mean anything at all.
Disclaimer: I am not black
. . .
A few words
Generally hated Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl is stepping down after this academic year. No one liked him. He didn't get hard-line enough on protesters, didn't connect with the students, and a few etcs.
I loved him. I don't know what people're complaining about, especially the Republicans. The Republicans should be loving the fact that their chancellor was not a political activist and didn't try to do things to advance political goals, like Atkinson and many of the Regents do. Now, maybe the Republicans would've preferred a conservative chancellor, but there's no chance of that happening, and a guy like Berdahl was the best they could hope for.
As far as his hands-off approach to students, I think more students need to appreciate that. Berdahl left a lot of power in the hands of the students by doing so, even to the point where administrators were afraid of students. Had Berdahl "made more connections" with the student body, it would've been bad for student independence.
On the Hernandez issue, I'll admit I was wrong. While out of anger I really wanted to see Hernandez and co. get it for the whole disrupting classes thing (and still think he should've gotten it), it wasn't really Berdahl's job. It was the DA's job (and he blew it severely). Berdahl's job had to do with education. At first, Berdahl was very hard-line on the protesters because their building-occupations were disrupting classes, and hence the education was in jeapordy. As the process drew out, and the university administration bungled the case again and again, it became pretty clear that pursuing the case would be more detrimental to the education at Cal than letting them off the hook and risking future building takeovers (which have occured, and objections quickly silenced by the administration, as expected).
His statements about politics may have been disappointing, but they were made outside of his role as the Chancellor, and he didn't take any real action, making his statements just opinions and irrelevant to his adminstrating success.
Berdahl was spectacular in his silence and his inaction. I can only hope we get an equally hands-off education-minded chancellor to replace him, and I get the feeling that, with all the complaints, we won't. It would probably be best if we eliminated the position altogether (saving a few bucks), as Berdahl proved pretty well that it's not necessary to the functioning of the university to have a chancellor. But then, no one trusts students to give administration advice, least of all me.
. . .
It's news to me
I must not have been paying attention, but it turns out those "Sports Illustrated on Campus" inserts are a weekly thing this year, which means that folks who clean up Sproul Plaza are going to have a hell of a time after each Thursday press run picking up the discarded copies of SI on Campus. (You know, because NO ONE EVER READS THOSE DAMN INSERTS!)
. . .
ASUC it up
As far as the ASUC circus goes, take these two quotes to realize just how deluded/selfish/arrogant/vain some people can be:
Anu Joshi: "... (ASUC External Affairs Vice President Anu) Joshi claimed that the ASUC has full jurisdiction over its funds, which she said are not part of the university."
Jessica Quindel: "Quindel defended the spending, saying the Graduate Assembly has a right to make its own financial decisions."
Me: Summary of how the ASUC and GA get money:
The authority of the ASUC and GA come entirely from their coffers. They have no police authority, or democratic authority, or actual government authority. The only reason anyone gives a damn what they say and do is because they have money which can be used for things. Otherwise, they're meaningless
The money doesn't grow on trees, though. It comes from student fees. Mandatory student fees. We pay the mandatory student fees not because the ASUC and GA are our government (which they are not, i.e. they don't have any authority to collect taxes) but because it's part of the tuition that is paid to the UC Regents because the UC Regents requires students/sponsors to pay it in order for students to get educated here.
Thus, the money of the ASUC and GA, and consequently, the authority of both bodies, belong to the UC Regents, not some student coalition, and certainly not to individuals within the bodies. Since it's Regent money, it's bound by the same restrictions the Regents are bound by.
If the ASUC wants "full jurisdiction over its funds," or the GA wants to "the right to make its own financial decisions," said bodies had better start doing some serious fundraising so that they no longer have to rely on student fees. Until they no longer receive Regent money (i.e. student fees), though, they are bound by the restrictions which are attached to all Regent money.
On a more moralistic note, the money isn't there for the personal political goals of the officeholders. It's there so that the ASUC and GA can provide services to the students. Quindel has made something of a case for GA spending (Graduate student research is frequently based on things which would be banned for Prop 54, even if it is wuss research), but Joshi certainly hasn't made one for ASUC spending, other than "We cannot allow it to pass because... because.... it's progressive... and we're progressive... and... and... yeah."
And regardless of the legitimacy of Quindel's claim that the failure of Prop 54 is important to the Graduate community, it's still bloody illegal. Quindel has yet to abstract herself from her own personal framework of "how right and wrong should be defined according to my own personal beliefs" to "how right and wrong are legally defined because no one trusts my own personal beliefs."
. . .
Not black, yet again
I stopped by the first genuine Noon Sproul Rally (NSR) of the year, this time to oppose prop 54. Like at most race issues dealt with in NSRs, the crowd appeared to be mostly high school students enjoying the day off. I'm patiently waiting for looting reports.
As far as what was actually said, I didn't listen. I had classes during the second half, and during the first half I went and listened to the infinitely more entertaining and talented Taiwanese drummers on lower Sproul. (Who knew watching people hit things with sticks could be so entertaining?) I did hear some praise for Detroit teachers who took a day off from school to march for an affirmative action cause somewhere at some time, closing down the schools. It raised the obvious question: "If a lack of educational access is causing racial discrimination, how does refusing to educate help?"
Disclaimer: I am not black.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2003
And to be a newspaper in Berkeley...
The East Bay Express has fun. They're a quasi-news "alt-weekly" which has a tendency to piss people off.
Will Harper's Bottom Feeder today, including a picture of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison eating a hot dog (??) and a story about how an anti-tobacco guy bought more cigarettes for his dad so he could rip him off, has this important news/editorial item:
Bottom Feeder hereby urges all journalists to banish the phrase "Birthplace of the Free Speech Movement" from their Berkeley stories. The cliché, as it were, is invariably recycled for stories on the city's most enduring pastime: stealing newspapers.
Berkeley, in fact, has a long, disgraceful history of free newspapers being lifted when their content was deemed objectionable to some zealot -- or mayoral candidate. Matter of fact, we've received several reports of last week's Express -- which took a critical look at Berkeley's heavy-handed preservationists -- being stolen en masse from city racks.
Birthplace perhaps; graveyard definitely.
. . .
Over at U-Wire.com, which I came upon quite by accident, they have a link to this Oklahoma Daily (the U. of Oklahoma student paper) story about some guy who got captured in Afghanistan or something who was a visitor, a la Johnny Walker Lindh.
The story isn't that important, and I didn't even read it. What struck me was that on U-Wire, where they put the title, and the first paragraph, it read:
COLUMN: What happens when Americans don't pay attention
Shafiq Rasul was born in England to Pakistani parents.
and that's it.
What, if we don't pay attention, Pakistanis screw in England?
Also in the weirdness department, some Anti-JAG folks were protesting outside Henry's on Durant as I was walking past around 1:30. I dunno why. I didn't see anything in particular that they were protesting, and Durant Ave. is certainly not a common place to hold a protest. Maybe some recruiters were staying in the hotel.
. . .
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
If you've been following newsish thingies around here, you would've heard about the new Caucasian club raising a ruckus in Freedom High.
But John Fong is angry. Very angry.
But until you've experienced a day of not having all the white privilege that you take for granted -- let alone 500 years of racial oppression -- don't you dare try to claim that your need for understanding of your race and culture is as great as the needs of people of color.
Grammar aside, I'd love to meet one of these people of color who've experienced 500 years of oppression. Not out of any interest in their oppression, but just out of medical curiosity. Most folks don't live for half a millennium.
As a side note, no one made the claim that white needs to understand race and culture were as great as those of blacks. All that was said is that there should be a Caucasian club if people were interested. What's so pissing-off about it?
. . .
Haha. The Daily Cal isn't feeling so smart about endorsing CalSERVE now, are they?
Lauren Hubbert and Susan Vakil also have their shots at CalSERVE to get in. "We students deserve an ASUC that serves the campus population rather than the selfish political interests of Ms. Joshi and Ms. Quindel." Ooh, bad word choice. It should've been "personal political interests," not "selfish political interests." Oh, well.
Here's a thought though... why didn't anyone say anything before? I haven't heard protests from Hubbert and Vakil in the past, nor from the Daily Cal editorial staff. All parties are responding as if some great big story has just been broken, but it hasn't. Kevin saw it. I saw it. Where did people think the money for all those signs and speeches was coming from?
Jessica Quindel and co. choose a really bad time to put forward a "We need to be autonomous" opinion. No one likes the GA, and no one's going to accomodate it, especially after the whole Prop 54 thing. I hope their ass gets suspended somehow for violating California election law. Maybe if JQ stepped down and left running the GA to someone who actually cares about helping grad students, instead of using the apparatus of the GA to promote her own personal political views, folks'd be a touch more sympathetic. "Without legislative authority, fiscal autonomy and a permanent legal solution clarifying our role as the graduate student government, our mission is consistently undermined." Some mission.
In the letters section:
Tony Zhang: Bad. Doesn't know what he's talking about. Seriously, it's all a bunch of empty words and complaints.
Patrick Yu: GOOD! Someone who knows how to write, and actually payed attention to what the point was. "These fees were paid to the university—not to the assembly's liberal political corps for their own private crusades." And "If they think it's their 'duty' to fight this ballot initiative, they ought to do it without the hard-earned money from my family's pockets and those from others who do not share the ASUC's politics."
Folks who don't mind: Absent. Let's hear some defense, dammit! Let's hear the pro-theft folks defend themselves.
. . .
Monday, September 22, 2003
Election, part IV
Arguments by people about the recall.
Harvard University law professor Lawrence Tribe, arguing on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union, said...
Umm.... Harvard's in MA, not CA. Hey, ACLU boys, find a Californian to argue for you. This is a California issue.
. . .
More Berkeley Bowl fun!
Management told other store workers Perez was fired for discounting damaged goods and then buying them for himself, said United Food and Commercial Worker's organizer Jeremy Plague.
Jeez, they could pick a better spokesman than someone named "Plague." "'This is really just an attempt to control us,' said organizer Jefferson Davis."
Perez was fired to hurt worker morale, said cashier Irami Osei-Frimpong.
Oh, for crying out loud, "Irami Osei-Frimpong"? Twenty points for someone who can rearrange the letters of that name to look like a name. It's no wonder management is winning, with names like "Larry Evans."
. . .
Hey, someone noticed! Spending student money on prop 54 is, you know, illegal. And SA makes a strong statement that it'll stand by the people with ""My fear is that we might be marginalizing students who don't support the campaign," said Student Action senator Lauren Hubbert." Oh, right, still spineless.
Anyway, Jessica Quindel comes first:
"The University cannot sponsor or fund religious activities, and cannot sponsor or fund political activities," the policy states.
But Quindel said because the fees are paid to the assembly, they are exempt from university regulations.
That seems rather doubtful. The funds are collected for the assembly only on the authrority of the university administration, and by extension, the UC Regents. Thus, monies collected for GA or ASUC are still bound by the same rules as the Regents are.
Quindel said there was virtually no opposition in the assembly when the money was allocated.
Big whoop. The war on Afghanistan went with virtually no opposition, surely you don't have a problem with that, either.
She also pointed out that if students are unhappy with how their fees are spent, they can petition for a refund.
Oooh. Now I'm intrigued. I remember hearing something similar concerning ASUC funds. If anyone has any information about how one could go about this, please point it out. It'd be a great public service to let people know how they can reclaim their money.
"We knew it was something we could not allow to pass," (Anu) Joshi said.
So, we felt it was okay to use students and the university as our pulpit to see our own personal opinions go into politics.
Curiosly devoid in this article, though, is news about who is bringing this claim up (Marcia Riley and the Student Affairs Office are mentioned, but not especially strongly). It appears that the Daily Cal did independent research to reach this conclusion (that prop 54 spending is in violation of codes), but that's very unlike the Daily Cal, or any legitimate newspaper, for that matter. Hopefully we can rely on Paul LaFata to round up some help to pound CalSERVE's illegal waste of student funds into the ground. But we all know we can't.
. . .
Note on Nudists
While I support the idea of legalized public nudity on principle, every time I see some of these protestors, it makes me less and less willing to support it.
. . .
Sunday, September 21, 2003
"If I can do that (Get on an MTV reality show), then I can see myself going anywhere. I can get anywhere." Yeah. Exactly.
. . .
To give the people what they want
Since most people come here looking for nudity, here's some nudity:
Well, a story about it, anyway. My reading summary:
blah blah blah pomo crap about bodies blah blah I want everyone to feel my ex-boyfriend's pain blah blah blah "Members of the group range from Moore's 12-year-old son..."
Whoa... hold on a sec. 12-year-old? Rubbing, touching, sensing one another? Erg... call me old-fashioned, but that's messed up. I don't think 12 is the age of consent for getting molested by a bunch of angry hippies.
Also, on the march (Ahem, contains nudity, may not be safe for work, or for children. And, no, it's not the kind of nudity which actually looks good. I would've put the picture up here, but we at the Beetle Beat have... um... standards.)
. . .
Am I good or what?
When I called Mehammed Mack the next Mad Max, I meant that I wouldn't like the guy and thought his columns were pointless at best and generally negative at worst. But at least he was coherent.
Whoops. I spoke too soon. Looks like Mack is going with Max's stream-of-consciousness thing, although not nearly as bad. Well, at least he didn't conclude that because Bob the janitor glanced at him while he was pissing all over the floor, Midwestern America holds foreigner-lynching parties. Yet.
. . .
Friday, September 19, 2003
University forgets door stop
DC Editorial Time! We need more input on the appointment of top officials! Because... umm... umm... well, we might care... after we leave in less than four years.
Koshland comes from a prominent Bay Area family, a well-known donor on campus. Did this play any roll in the decision?
Prior to her appointment, university officials announced a concerted effort to boost the percentage of female senior management, which was only at 13 percent last year. How important was gender in this process?
I hope so, and hopefully a lot. If the University rewards people who give it money, maybe more people will give it money. And we need money, more than we need a person "in charge of fusing the needs of professors with the facilities available on campus" who responds to the needs of students who don't really have many needs that need responding-to in this area. And if this saves UC from a lawsuit for gender discrimination, it's worth every cent.
I don't trust students with the administration of this campus. Just think of what would pass for "education." (1,2,3,4...)
. . .
Don't drink whine, it's unhealthy.
Looks like Whine Cellar operator Dan Hodes whined a bit too much and pissed off Vince Strang III, of Cal Football. (I'd look up his position, but I don't really care)
I don't normally read Hodes's column anyway, but I'm curious as to how "Hodes' team-bashing comes to an end here and now." Has the column been removed? Has Hodes been removed? Judging by his mild rivalry with Grant Marek, this'll only encourage him to write more negativity towards Cal Football.
. . .
Whoa, did he really say that?
The Berkeley Daily Planet runs a complainy piece about the negative impact of University growth on the city from Rob Wrenn. I'm not in a position to argue against his points, but this particular statement shows the caliber of understanding that the criticism is coming from:
On the one hand the university has implemented a “Class Pass” for students, which allows students—who have actively supported the program—to ride AC Transit buses for free in return for a modest payment that all students pay as part of their annual fees.
So, I went down to this restaurant today, and got to eat a meal for free, in exchange for a modest payment with tip.
. . .
I'm still not black
Michelle Myers. How she got the Friday columnist position is unfathomable to me. I've read the same damn column three weeks in a row. "Race, prog assumptions, race, etc." This time it's Prop 54.
If passed, we'll finally be able to statistically (because financially we already do) ignore the lower test scores that black and Hispanic children receive on state wide standardized tests. We will be able to statistically ignore the numbers of black children suffering from asthma in West Oakland because of the polluting corporations in their neighborhoods. We will be able to statistically ignore the disproportionate numbers of white, and other races of women getting and dying from breast cancer. We'll be able to statistically ignore the numbers of Vietnamese women suffering from cervical cancer. We will continue to statistically ignore the decreasing numbers of minority students enrolling at college campuses throughout the state.
Man, that would be so much better than what we have now. Now, we have to listen to folks on Sproul spit out numbers and statistics like they mean something. If Prop 54 passed, we'd only have to hear two numbers: 54 and 209. I'll oppress the entire black race for that small comfort, sure.
Ceasing to collect this racial data will make it even more difficult for organizations like the California Medical Association and the American Cancer Society to address the healthcare and disease prevention needs for different communities.
Yeah, I keep hearing this one, too. I also remember reading what Mike Davis finally and firmly points out: "Clause F of the initiative reads as follows: 'Otherwise lawful classification of medical research subjects and patients shall be exempt from this section.'" It's excluded from Prop 54. Of course, no one'll listen, and no one'll actually read it. Oh, well.
. . .
Thursday, September 18, 2003
It sucks to be you, eh?
From Ms. Gomez on the Daily Cal's plans to move and not pay rent to the ASUC:
"We planned our budget expecting the rent and revenue from the Daily Cal," Gomez said. "We would have to unfortunately make cuts somewhere else and find other sources of revenue."
Geez, guess you should've thought about that before trying to silence the Daily Cal's vaguely unfavorable comments towards a few people (which weren't the least bit unfavorable). Try stealing newspapers in retaliation.
Cal Republican... ahem, I mean APPLE senator Paul LaFata: "(Quindel) has put politics above student interests at the expense of the student body." It's not exactly a new thing for progs. ("Vote no on Prop 54, because you voted for us so that we can tell you how to vote.")
Bahar Khanjari (CalSERVE): "We're not here to talk about her specific view on an issue, we are supposed to be neutral." Since when? It's not like Quindel is the model of neutrality.
. . .
It's a surreal day
On the same day as a Daily Cal article on a building to be named after former chancellor Chang-Lin Tien, I noticed that you can still find his picture in the glass case of Mechanical Engineering professors on the third floor of Etcheverry. Trippy.
Also in the trippy department, I find myself in agreement with something Kriss Worthington said.
. . .
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
From the Daily Cal
"We do need a recall!" Jackson said.
Silence spread through the thousand students and Berkeley residents packed into the plaza.
"We need to recall the president!"
A roar of approval ran through the crowd. ASUC president Kris Cuaresma-Primm looked decidedly uncomfortable until he realized Jackson was referring to Bush.
. . .
Tuesday, September 16, 2003
Also in the kinda-queer department, I walked into the VLSB men's bathroom near the auditoria, and was suprised.
Normally, it smells like piss. Sometimes, it smells like ass. This time, it smelled like popcorn.
. . .
Well here's a little curiosity
As I mentioned, google ranks me 40th for pages with "Georgy" and "Russell."
For very unclear reasons, though, I'm ranked 10th for pages with "Georgy." Hmm. This means that though there are 39 pages with Georgy and Russell which are more popular/whatever Google's standard is, there are only 9 which have Georgy. Which begs the obvious question.... don't those other 30 pages have Georgy too? Does Google have some record of who searches for what, and use that in its ranking scheme? Because that'd be both super-cool and kinda-freaky.
In a slightly related note, Georgy Russell came to speak, among a crowd of other nobodies in the election.
. . .
I am not black
Last time I checked.
I went to see Jesse Jackson speak today. I didn't actually hear him speak, because the introductions started at 12:20, and I had a class at 12:30 (sorry, learning about addition of electric fields is so much more important than hearing some random guy blabber about something), but I did get to hear Kris Cuaresma-Primm try to be black. Classic.
I also got to see some black guy lay the smack down on a Sparticist (who actually comes from my high school) for pretending to understand the black man's struggle. Or something along those lines. I didn't really catch the whole conversation.
. . .
Kevin is right, as he frequently is, about how the recall's postponement is going to affect us in terms of ASUC. CalSERVE and company have shown no willingness to actually help out students on campus, instead focusing their entire efforts on Prop 54. Delaying the election by another 5 months means 4 more months of absolutely no useful action from ASUC. (They'll take winter break off)
It's really a queer situation. We voted to elect certain representatives and gave them money to represent us and do things for us. CalSERVE is taking that money and spending it to tell us how to vote. How screwed up is that? The money is to be spent on students, not on the elected representatives' particular political goals.
This is the basis of my support for Student Action. They may be petty, political, and partisan, but they spend the fees they get on student groups, not state political issues. But my support is going to fade unless I hear some Student Action folks actually stand up and say something. I've heard absolutely nothing from them on any issue. They won't raise any issue with the way CalSERVE is focusing its energies on a non-student issue. So please, SA, do something! Actions speak louder than words, but I haven't even heard words from you!
. . .
No one cares what I think. So for me to say my opinion is sort of pointless. Instead, let's look at what impacts the moving of the election is going to have, specifically on voter demographics.
1. The primaries. For reasons I can't really fathom, people consider national elections to be much more important than state elections. (Maybe it has something to do with the fact that federal courts can overrule state courts on state issues whenever the hell they feel like it) Thus, the big draw to the election is going to be the Democratic primaries, which naturally is going to draw more Democratic voters than Republican voters. (There're no real Republican primaries, as Bush is running unopposed) This is one of the big reasons why conservatives tend to be all "Boo" and liberals seem to be more "Yay" about this.
2. Attitude. People are starting to get fed up with the recall. Put it off another 5 months, and there's going to be much less interest. This means that fewer people will go to the polls to vote on the recall, which will amplify the effect of it being during the democratic primary election.
3. SB60. SB60 goes into effect January 1, 2004, according to Calwatch. This change moves the election from before SB60 going into effect to after. This may increase voter fraud, though I doubt it'll be huge.
4. SB60's Referendum. On the other hand, Tom McClintock's referendum, demanding that SB60 be placed on the March ballot has the potential to turn this into even more of a circus than it already is. If the referendum gets enough signatures, then the implementation of SB60 will be postponed, eliminating the voter fraud from 3. However, since it'll become a huge issue for illegal immigrants, the presence of the referendum on the March ballot will likely increase voter fraud.
But that's not all. SB60 is an important issue for non-immigrants and legal immigrants, too. People, in general, aren't particularly happy about it. This includes traditionally Democratic groups such as unions. SB60 has the potential to draw many more conservative voters to the polls, as well as placing the spectre of SB60 right next to Davis's recall. People might think twice about opposing his recall when they're simultaneously being bombarded by press and ads about SB60.
Ironically, Davis's desperate effort to get Latino voters on his side may come and bite him in the ass if SB60 attracts people to the same ballot that his recall is on.
By the way, most of this stuff also impacts the prospects of Prop 54. Keep in mind, though, that while most of the people who would vote in support of SB60 also oppose Prop 54, not all Prop 54 supporters are going to be friendly to SB60.
. . .
We are reviewing the play...
Instant replay should be removed from elections. It slows down the pace of the game. We want to see people hit each other. Politically.
So yeah, the federal court of something or other said that the recall needs to be delayed until March for the primaries, with the decision's effect pending appeals. I say BOO! Here's why:
1. It's a state issue. The argument of making it a federal issue probably runs along the lines of "it discriminates against minorities and such and so we get to go all 14th ammendment on their ass." I don't buy it, but I can understand the argument.
2. The problem isn't solved. I doubt that the machines'll be replaced even by March. But if they are... well, okay.
3. Even if there's a problem with nonrepresentative voting, that is always the case (see following post). The list of issues determines voter turnout, and it's just coincidence which determines what passes and what fails.
4. Even if it was a major point, these issues are not enough to overrule an explicit enumeration in the California constitution regarding timing of elections.
. . .
Monday, September 15, 2003
That's what Mehammed Mack is going to be serving unless he changes his attitude. Mack spits out a brand new "find a villain in every normal" column, this time at the Career Fair.
However, he's not content to simply demonize everyone by looks alone. No, he's off to cause problems and make enemies:
"What's your position on Bechtel's role in monopolizing the Iraq reconstruction contracts?" The Bechtel woman looks at me as she would an insubordinate cat, and says: "that's not my department."
People need jobs. That's the way it works. "I wonder how the students kissing up to these people can be so unaware of simple ethical business practices." Such as... not getting a job? Is that the ethical thing to do, in Mack's little fantasy world? Or maybe they should all become college professors! Stick your head out of your humanities shell, Mack. Not everyone is content to sit around and complain for a living. Some people actually feel better when they're doing something productive.
Then again I almost see their eyes roll back in their slot machine heads to reveal rising dollar signs. To reinforce this financial immorality, the students are literally dressed to kill—like a Benetton catalogue with the peace and justice thrown out.
Grow up, Mack. Not everyone looking towards their future is an amoral money-hoarder. Who are you to judge? What gives your moral attitudes more force than anyone else's?
. . .
Friday, September 12, 2003
And so we, the City of Berkeley, declare
The city council is up to its foreign policy again.
The Daily Cal article is confusing and somewhat misleading, so I'll use the The Daily Planet as a source, instead.
There were two competing resolutions. The original was to demand an investigation into the death of Rachel Corrie, dead by bulldozer in Palestine. It was a pretty big event around here.
The Mods and Mayor Bates, however, wanted to see a general investigation into all Americans' deaths in the region. Specifically, and this is where The Daily Cal misses a big point, including the death of Marla Bennett in a Palestinian attack in J-U.
Worthington, Shirek, Breland, and Spring acted as you pretty much would expect, supporting the issue because it was progressive, and opposing the alternative because it was competition. Maio abstained from the moderate alternative because, although she didn't want it to pass (because it would "undercut the effect of the Corrie resolution") she didn't want to oppose it, either.
Hawley and Olds were the ones who suggested the moderate alternative because the original seemed to suggest that Corrie's death was somehow more important. In some sense, it really was, because the Israeli military is funded mostly by the US, while the Palestinian nutjobs are not. (officially) Nevertheless, Olds astutely points out that "these resolutions aren't really going to do anything anyway."
Bates broke ranks from his prog buddies and joined the moderates for this one, but not before asking that the resolutions not even be considered because they were foreign policy issues and unnecessarily divisive, and earns an enthusiastic "yay!" from me. Or he would have, had he voted against both resolutions, which he did not.
More disappointing was Wozniak. While Wozniak wasn't really quoted, and probably didn't like the idea of the resolutions, he did vote for the moderate alternative, breaking a vague campaign promise that he wouldn't support such extra-Berkeley issues.
In an angry opinion, a reader writes "On Sept. 9, at City Council, Tom Bates acted in a way that will damage his political career as mayor of Berkeley." Probably not. I mean, you'd think that stealing newspapers would've had a bigger effect, what with it actually mattering in Berkeley, but it didn't. No one's going to care about this one.
. . .
The Daily Cal had one of its most intelligent opinion pages yet this year. Not because it has more thoughtful commentary, but just because it doesn't have an editorial.
I wonder if anyone will mind that I compared newspaper theft to rape.
. . .
Thursday, September 11, 2003
Harm for others
I've got to hand it to Mo. I had just assumed he was full of crap when he said he couldn't cope with the fee hikes. I guess I was wrong (or he's just using it as an excuse to take a break, but I'm not that untrusting). I also give him succinctness points: "That's a freaking problem."
"You have a big responsibility being here and it's not for your own egos to feel better." Coming from Mo, of all people.
"In his resignation speech, Kashmiri asked senators to forget about party politics and to focus on the role of serving students and making a difference." How about leaving "making a difference" as simply a side effect of serving the students? That'd be, like, supercool, if making differences wasn't considered a goal in itself.
. . .
OSL, BCR, and CalPatriot put on a great memorial today. Very little politicing. Not much to say, though. Led by Paul LaFata and Kris Cuaresma Primm, the nighttime event included songs from the Overtones and the Octet, as well as speakers from MSA, Jewish Student Union (Daniel Frankenstein), an Air Force Colonel (retired, I believe, but I'm not sure), and the only mayor we've had in the past 8 years who doesn't steal newspapers.
I give "Cover Sproul Plaza with Candle Wax Day" a 10.
. . .
Because Davis wants to save his ass, we get another activist on the UC Regents! That's one more person trying to use the university as a tool to accomplish her personal political goals. CalSERVE should be proud.
Five diverse views on 9/11. Every single one of them ends with "I don't like the war." Now that's diversity. I guess The Daily Cal didn't think to call BCR.
. . .
I'd've never guessed!
I'm search result 16 for "high school losers" on Brazillian Google. How about that?
On A Fortiori, a continuing comment thread about Prop 54 included the quote from Rebecca C. that "your (my) self-assigned moniker tinges of colonialism." And I, of course, said *gasp!* I do know vaguely of a Drake from colonial America, but I figured there was something deeper in her statement.
Beetle: My name. When I got bored of Justin my freshman year, I happened to be thinking of beetles as a result of a lecture from Cal Rentals or some such which mentioned that beetle infestations could be used as evidence for reduced rent. Beetle really is my name, and all my friends know me by it, so I had to keep it. (Justin is used only for "official" things where being named after an insect may have negative consequences)
Aurora: The justification was "you never know when a girl's name would come in handy." I figured people would be hesitant to call me by a girl's name in voice, so I picked one which would work well as a writing pseudonym. Well, my taste sucks, so I ended up with Aurora.
Drake: Azadivar, for whatever reason, is difficult to pronounce. Drake is not. Since my most recent name change decision came while listening to someone extoll the virtues of musician Nick Drake, Drake seemed the natural choice to round out the name.
So there you have it. The story of the name. It's still very flexible, and if anyone has any better ideas, or reasons why I should use one of my other names, let's hear them! (I also didn't want to start a discussion of my name in Paul's comment section, in case anyone had anything to say about it)
. . .
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Hey, guess what today is!
It's Sept. 10. Which means Sept. 11 is Thursday. And CalSERVE gets to host it. I dread. Greatly.
I could just not go to the festivities (that's right, I said:
), but as a blogger, I do feel a tad obligated. Hopefully they don't bring out that boring professor who always talks for hours and hours about nothing. He's so boring I never succeed in remembering his name.
And really, it's 2 years since something bad happened. Is it really worth observing every year?
. . .
Go Daily Cal! You don't hear that from me, very often, but for once, The Daily Cal is showing some backbone by refusing to sign a "code of ethics" to be approved by the "student body." (read CalSERVE)
But student board members said the code would ease tensions between the paper, and some students and student groups, which have flared in newspaper theft and protests about news coverage and advertisements.
So... because some other people are committing crimes, the newspaper should sign a code of ethics. I remember hearing this... "But the jury suggested that the woman should have worn more modest clothing, as her radical dress led individuals to rape her at every opportunity." Where's Take Back the Night when you need them?
"The code of ethics is the minimal way not to have controversy in the building and to maintain social responsibility," said Graduate Assembly President Jessica Quindel, one of the two students board members barred from voting yesterday.
And we don't want controversy in the building why? There already is controversy in the building. That's what most student groups are there for. And to say that "my particular vision of social responsibility is the right one, and all should conform to it" is ever-so-slightly arrogant.
Student leaders pointed to examples such as an advertisement against slavery reparations for African Americans, a cartoon students said unfairly portrayed Muslims, and coverage of a black football player's arrest last spring.
Paid advertisement by someone with an opinion: BAD! An editorial cartoon which used caricature and hyperbole: BAD! Covering a crime: BAD! Boy, those Daily Cal folks are just so unethical.
. . .
Finally. The CogSci department is capping enrollment. Cognitive Science, which has pretty much nothing to do with science, and requires little to no cognition (as a guage, the Millenium Falcone was a CogSci major), is being capped, joining five other useless majors (psychology, social welfare, mass communications, economics, and political economy of industrial societies) and one useful one (computer science). Why do the crappy useless majors get so much attention? Because they're easy? Maybe. Maybe it's just that some people aren't good at anything useful, but want to say they're good at something. Oh, well. I'm sure John Searle is crying.
. . .
Daily Cal Humor
As if there's any other kind on this blog.
Apparently, The Daily Cal missed their drop. While most mornings, as I walk down Bancroft towards Sproul, I see the many copies of The Daily Cal being unloaded under the watchful eye of Daily Cal staffers. This morning, I saw the pile of newspapers, completely abandoned. It seems that somebody dropped the ball. Or maybe they were feeling safe, since they hadn't printed an article about a black person recently.
. . .
Tuesday, September 09, 2003
Law for Illegal Immigrants Finally Brings Safety to Roads: Hahaha. HAHA! Yeah. Roads are now safe. We'll never see another traffic accident again. Thank God we're passed the era of frequent traffic crashes.
Perhaps the most outlandish argument against the new bill comes from those who say it will only encourage terrorist activity, citing the accessibility of air travel with a driver's license.
Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, had the perfect response for this unfounded claim.
"I'll grant you this bill will not stop terrorists," he said. "But it's also not going to make the summers in San Francisco warmer or cure allergies in Sacramento. That's not what it is designed to do."
I'll agree it's a pretty outlandish argument, but Jay must be partially insane to think that Gil's response is perfect. Allow me to summarize:
Argument: "It will encourage terrorist activity." (note that the argument does not say "it fails to stop terrorist activity")
Response: "It's not designed to stop terrorist activity, so it's okay to increase it."
But the bill has one purpose: to increase safety on the road for all drivers, illegal immigrants and citizens alike.
Let's pretend that that really is one purpose. There's two more. Get Gray unrecalled and build up Democrat support are the others. In fact, the Daily Cal is the one of the very few publications naive enough to even mention the safety issue. Everyone knows that it's an immigrant issue. I even know that, and I don't know anything.
...the new law finally recognizes the most basic rights of a group that has been consistently overlooked in California and indicates a positive change in the state's politics.
The right to be deported? The "illegal" in illegal immigrant isn't just for fun, you know.
. . .
Henry Lopez, City reporter for the Daily Cal went missing after conducting this interview with Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates. Daily Cal staff speculates that Lopez might have said something Bates disagreed with, and, combined with the stress of dealing with a budget crisis, Mayor Bates threw him in the trash. Searches through local trash containers have turned up nothing but biology projects.
. . .
Monday, September 08, 2003
My posts are bloody long
I didn't even notice how long my posts were getting. The column is small, so they're shorter than they look, but still...
Berkeley Residents Rally Against Recall, Proposition 54: I think the religious comparison is becoming more and more accurate for Berkeley government. Now they're imitating Jehovah's Witnesses.
Although you have to question whether we should be allowing a government to support or oppose a ballot measure or an election. We would be rather upset if, for instance, Gray Davis started using government money and government meetings and government authority to oppose his recall, or if our legislature passed a resolution that supported "voting for incumbents more often."
. . .
Berkeleyans are idiots, case-study
From the Daily Cal:
The Berkeley Board of Education unanimously approved the official creation of a new small school within Berkeley High School Wednesday.
About 400 of the roughly 2,900 Berkeley High students make up the new Communication Arts and Sciences school. Officials hope this will be the first of many new autonomous small schools.
First of all, let's talk about nomenclature. Communication Arts and Sciences. It means absolutely nothing. "The program involves a social justice curriculum with a multimedia theme, according to media teacher Dharini Rasiah." That is Communication Arts and Sciences? Social justice is not a curriculum, it's a world view. This is equivalent to a catholic school in the sense that it's guided by a particular worldview which is not to be questioned but only reinforced. But it's publicly funded, which means somebody should really be pissed.
However, some concerns have been raised over how the Communication Arts and Sciences program would handle Advanced Placement classes. The small school does not teach any AP classes.
The Communication Arts and Sciences program was started to help close the achievement gap, which is due partly to the AP program, (CAS Director) Ayers said. He criticized the AP program for sorting students into groups of winners and losers.
You get the feeling that Ayers never went to high school. Students can be and should be sorted into groups of winners and losers. Those groupings aren't artificial. Ayers suggests, for the sake of the self-esteem or some such of the losers, that we should not give winners the opportunity to succeed, but instead group them with the losers so that they can't go anywhere.
There are two schools of thought on high school, and they are tuned to two different types of students. The first school is that high school is a place of education, where students go to learn about some topics to prepare them for the future. There are students who approach school this way, and can be found taking challenging classes (i.e. AP). Most of us Berkeley students were in this group.
The other school is that high school is a storage location for keeping teenagers so they don't go burning down the city or something. These students take the easiest courses they can find, and don't really care about learning.
Each type of student needs to be in a different class. When you stick them together, the non-student students keep the actual students from making any progress at all, and basically ruin the educational experience for those students who really do want a future. The true genius of the AP program was not the tests, but the ability to make this segregation of students based on their perception of their role in high school.
Ayers doesn't like this segregation. He seems to feel that, for equality reasons, all students should have to fail.
. . .
How dumb can you be?
Mehammed Mack looks to be this year's Mad Max. Luckily, he actually appears to be literate, which is a big plus.
While preparing this column, the ethics involved in propping up an enemy's dirty laundry kept fleeting through my mind like aggravated morality cherubs. Socrates insists that one must never harm the Other even if one has been harmed and has every entitlement to revenge. The ending thought: under-the belt slander is immoral no matter what precedes it.
So.... he carefully considered and realized that this kind of "harm the Other" is inappropriate. He then proceeds to write his column to "harm the Other." I hope they just edited out the part where he said "By the way, I didn't listen to these ethics!"
•Among Arnold's virtuosly depraved sayings and feats:"When you see a blonde with great tits and a great ass, you say to yourself, 'Hey, she must be stupid or must have nothing else to offer'" (Esquire, July 2003). Over to you, legion of blonde republicanettes.
Okay, so he said what most of us think. Boo! ?
•He told Playboy in 1988 that he forbids his mother and wife to wear pants when they're seen with him because pants are unfeminine. So if Arnold wins, will we have to update the indecent exposure laws, or just keep our women at home?
More importantly, why didn't his mother lay the smack down on his ass? I think we can see where his behavior has been enabled.
•In one 24-hour period, he fondled three TV hostesses while on a promotional tour in Britain (Premiere, March 2001). Their outcries were silenced by a professional clean-up crew.
... I guess I have to give this one to you. Except for the whole "using Premiere as an elections guide source" thing.
•On the set of "Eraser," an assistant went to Arnold's trailer to summon him for a shoot only to find him performing oral sex, this while already married to Maria Shriver. In the words of the witness: "He looked up and, with that accent, said very slowly, 'Eating is not cheating.'" (Premiere). No comment.
We need a governor who can think on his feet.
•During the filming of "Terminator 2," Arnold was assigned a male dresser he didn't find attractive. On-set, he would order the man, "Sit, you ugly dog," and have him kneel in submission. (Premiere) Imagine, Clinton and Condit, what he'd do to his interns …
How much do you think that dresser got paid? Arnie was just raising the wage of that job. He obviously stands for workers' rights.
•Of Kurt Waldheim, former UN secretary general, implicated in Nazi crimes against humanity: "My friends don't want me to mention Kurt's name, because of all the recent Nazi stuff and the UN controversy, but I love him and Maria does too." ("Arnold: The Unauthorized Biography," W. Leigh).
Byrd. Seriously, are we now no longer allowed to love people with unpopular opinions? What ever happened to love your fellow man? Really, it's still a human being, with feelings, humor, friendliness... why should he have denounced him? Why should he have been required to denounce him?
He is also reported to have made a comment praising Hitler during the filming of "Pumping Iron." ("Schwarzenegger's Nazi problem," SLATE.com).
The quote in question: "Why on Earth didn't Schwarzenegger take this opportunity to speak out against Waldheim? It surely isn't because Schwarzenegger himself had any Nazi sympathies (though during the filming of the documentary Pumping Iron, he reportedly once made a foolish comment praising Hitler)."
Whoa... was that what Mack meant? Hardly seems to be an endorsement of Naziism. The Slate article goes on: "Rather than confront his Waldheim problem head-on, Schwarzenegger has proclaimed his disgust for Nazism, raised money for education about the Holocaust, traveled to Israel (where he met with then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin), and given generously to the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, which in 1997 bestowed on him its National Leadership Award." So instead of getting personal, he went after the issue. Oh, woe is us. I think Mack was hoping that no one would actually go look up this Slate article and just wanted them thinking he was pro-Nazi. Most people probably won't check, though, so he may have been right, but I stand by my assessment of Mack as a fucking asshole.
•"Bodybuilders party a lot, and once, in Gold's … there was a black girl who came out naked. Everybody jumped on her and took her upstairs, where we all got together." (Oui, 1977). How could someone who enjoys opulent gang-bangs ever be fiscally responsible?
? What? Wha? Huh? Where's the logic here? Rich guy does rich things because he has more money than he could possibly use. So would I. At the very worst you could say that he doesn't have experience with being fiscally responsible. He also enjoys gangbangs, which strikes me as a very human characteristic (you won't see Gray Davis in any gang-bangs, that's for damn sure). I like humans.
My father, like most Austrians, grew up with relentless confidence. Arriving in the cutthroat United States, his self-importance was tested by the astounding dearth of references to Austria's splendor. Happiness for this expatriate only surfaced in the occasional Tyrolean ski disaster or Nazi scandal, because it meant recognition in the news. Sometimes, he'd search the currency section for the Austrian schilling, to remind himself of its sweet existence.
Oh, boo hoo. We of this country don't care about tiny details going on in another country. How horrible. How could his father possibly cope. Maybe being knocked down a few pegs was good for him.
Who knows what debauchery will transpire when this ultra-violent sex fiend cleans house in Sacramento …
Ultra-violent? What the hell? Where does ultra-violent come from, all of a sudden? That'd be like me saying "Mack is a racist, ultra-violent, baby-eating, puppy kicking rapist. Really. Look at all my evidence."
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Sunday, September 07, 2003
It's good to be used
Go Secretary!: "Son of an influential California politician and labor leader, (Secretary of State Kevin) Shelley joked that he crawled picket lines before he walked them." Wow. You must be so proud of being used like a dog in your youth.
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Saturday, September 06, 2003
Random Link Time
Down there on page 21 of the google search for "Hill Abortion" with me (and yes, someone clicked on my link from page 21... that's dedicated research) is this curiosity: Theosebes. This religious blogger gives a very good Christian reason of why Paul Hill was an asshole (in different words).
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Friday, September 05, 2003
Nice Work Andrea!
Sex on Tuesday columnist Andrea Desmarais gets linked by Fark. It's good to see our reputation soaring, even among computer geeks.
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So, I'm going to take a break from baseless accusations based on out-of-context quotes to try to make a meaningful rebuttal of Michelle Myers's "Spread Too Thin" column in today's Daily Cal. I'll resist the urge to do a line-by-line argument, and address her major ideas.
Her claim, overall, is that there aren't enough black people at Cal. Nothing new, of course, BAMN has been screaming it for years, and the number whores of the "diversity" camp have, too. My thesis is that Myers is incorrect in her assessment, and that there are not too few blacks on Cal, at least not for the reasons that she states.
The general thread of Myers's argument is "black students who are here are overworked, underpaid, and struggling to carve out a separate niche and a unified community."
Overworked: Myers complains of the difficulties of both doing her classes and engaging in all sorts of external activities with various groups. This complaint is ill-placed, as the obvious answer is "well, why don't you just not participate in all those groups?" (In the same way that if I complained "Geez, I just don't have enough time to maintain a blog and do my classes, life is so hard for me," any reader would quickly point out "Hey, dumbass, quit your blog. It's not like you're contributing to intellectual discourse or anything.")
Myers actually answers this question, with the idea that as a black person, it's her duty to help create a unified community and help change public opinion of blacks in general. While that's fine, she has no right to argue that she's forced to be overworked as a result, because that perception of duty is her own construct. Any student, black or otherwise, who comes to Cal can just completely ignore the world of "organizations" and just worry about classes. No one cares. No one will care. She could get a degree, run off and try to find a job, and if she doesn't make a huge deal about her race (which is what Myers does), potential employers probably won't care, either.
Instead, Myers pursues extra-scholastic activities with a great fervor, every single one of which is completely optional. My sympathy for her "overworked" status knows no lower bound.
As a somewhat sidenote, Myers mentions the "subverted racism black students experience in chemistry, engineering and business classes where we (black students) are phenotypically outnumbered." Being a minority and being subject to racism are not equivalent. This is a huge logical leap which Myers makes very little effort to justify. Especially in classes as impersonal as chemistry and engineering, nobody gives a damn what your race is, how many of your race there are, or any such. The racism she refers to is that "black students must present ourselves in a positive light for our classmates." I don't disagree, but that's hardly unique to black students. Everyone has to present herself in a positive light to others. I do. You do. We all do. It's not a uniquely black struggle. No one looks at me and says "well, that guys a dick, smells bad, and has poor manners.... but he's white, so it doesn't really matter."
The other major point of Myers's column is that of community. She claims that blacks have a duty to make a unified black community. To which I say, "Why?" Again, Myers doesn't really address the question. Why does one need a unified racial community? Each individual is unique, and is part of the whole college community. To try to class a person into a particular racial unified vision is an absurd destruction of the individuality an individual has. Blacks can do just fine without a "unified black community," especially in an independent college setting like Cal, away from homogenous regions which are predominantly black, and where not being part of that community is not an option. I've seen it work. I've seen the difference between "community" blacks and "just happen to be" blacks, and can assure you that a black community in a setting such as Cal is anything but beneficial to blacks.
Myers closes with some "The university's job is to encourage diversity, and we should get paid for doing it" thoughts, which I don't really feel like addressing. But in summary, my advice is if you don't want to do something, if it's unrewarding and too difficult...... DON'T DO IT.
Okay, that wasn't as thoughtful as I had hoped. Well, nevermind. Points are: Community unnecessary, minority isn't discrimination, and voluntary overwork your problem. None of these points are addressed in the column, and none of them seem obviously false. Myers needs to state and defend her assumptions (that the unified black community is necessary, that being a minority is the same as being subjected to racism, and that the fact that her choice of working too hard is the university's problem) much better.
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Thursday, September 04, 2003
The Daily Cal reports on a brand new Public Health undergrad major, combining the easiest portions of biology, medicine, and statistics into one nice piece-of-shit major.
I, too, have one of these bastardized half-majors, and it's actually rather shameful at times. Bioengineering, which takes the easy half of MCB, adds it to the easy half of MechE, and calls it an engineering major, offers plenty of opportunities to show your stuff without actually having any. Public Health looks to be no exception to the rule of combomajors, much like Ethnic Studies is the combination of a history major and pissiness.
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A little corner of Earth
The Police Log of the Daily Cal is always a fun place to find interesting tidbits. The vocabulary of police reporting leaves certain ambiguities which sound quite humorous to laymen like us. For example, in today's police log:
"Provided security while a Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory employee was terminated." Hm... so that's how they keep their secrets from getting out.
"Female reports male missing from somewhere in Berkeley since June 1996." ? "Excuse me, police? Some guy has been missing from this place somewhere in Berkeley for the past 7 years. Just thought I'd let you know."
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CalSERVE blows coffee corn
reports the Daily Cal.
CalSERVE senators backed a bill opposing Proposition 54, an October ballot initiative that would ban all public agencies from collecting information on race and ethnicity. The bill "strongly urges" UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl to send out an e-mail that encourages students to vote and to come out against Proposition 54. Berdahl has already come out in opposition to the initiative.
That's right! Encourage the Chancellor hijack the student information system to push a personal opinion! What a great idea! Why, I'm sure they agree just as much when it comes to his opinions on protests! !!! (By the way, if the Chancellor does go ahead and do such a thing, I'm going to kick him in the nuts, but only metaphorically, because I'm not entirely sure he has them)
Daily Californian Editor in Chief Eric Schewe implored the ASUC Senate to support the newspaper against the Store Operations Board current lease proposal. The proposed lease mandates the publication create a code of ethics for student review.
Free speech, with our approval. Go steal our newspaper! Despite all my complaining about the Daily Cal, I stand by them 100% on this issue. If the Daily Cal gets further despined by a code of ethics which will say, effectively, "We shall never say anything bad about a black person, ever, ever, ever," (which is already the policy, apparently) it'll be a sad day for "Independent Student Newspapers", at the very least. Tell those SOBs at the SOB to get bent.
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Death is Popular!
So Paul Hill, abortion doctor killer, got deaded by the state. A travesty really. Abortion is murder, after all, and what better way to show that murder is wrong than by killing? Well, that explanation isn't flying with the state, of course, and they're going to show that "Killing is wrong, even if you're killing killers" by killing the killer killer.
Also, according to this, the abortion doctor Paul Hill murdered's bodyguard, retired military man James Barrett, who was also killed, was 74. Bodyguard. 74. Hmm. I know bodyguarding is low-intensity work, but...
"About 50 abortion and death penalty foes quickly left following the execution as rain fell and lighting struck near the prison." Way to edit CNN. That lighting can be dangerous. Just ask the folks living around the stadium.
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Wednesday, September 03, 2003
I was looking for a random link to throw up, and thought I'd see who else comes up in the searches which all-too-often find me. It turns out that I'm the only "Yes on recall, Yes on Bustamante" supporter according to Google.
Anyway, the search for a random link looked pretty grim. The closest thing I could find was this: coffeefog. Meh. The McDonald's Transformers vs. Plastic Soldiers pictures are well worth the visit. Maybe.
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Headline: Proposition 54 Gains Opposition Among City Political Leaders. Because I'm sure it was very low before. It had a lot of gaining to do.
"Proposition 54 is an attempt to undermine our multicultural society," said Berkeley mayor Tom Bates. "The backers of Prop 54 promise it will lead us to a colorblind society. In reality, it will blind our society by withholding vital public information."
Yeah, and witholding public information is bad. Just think what would've happened if a newspaper's endorsements in a local election mysteriously vanished.
Speaking of racism, BAMN has its sayings chalked out in Sproul: "Overturn Prop. 209 and Demand Ward Connerly Resign." Okay, to overturn 209, but demanding Connerly's resignation? I thought BAMN supported diversity! Here, they're saying that people with diverse opinions should be forced out of office. Could it possibly be? Is BAMN being narrow-minded?
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Tuesday, September 02, 2003
This is probably a longshot, but I've discovered the real truth about Mario Savio. Unlike most of the free speech movement speakers... okay, I think this is about how far the Google Search thing summarizes where it found your search. Meh, I'll put the saying here, too: "There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and pray to God that it wasn't designed by the Japanese." If this works, I'm going to practically die of laughter.
I doubt I'd get links, though, since I'm not actually talking about him like I did about Georgy Russell, and besides, Mario has much more established google search results which will probably drown out my newcomer. Georgy Watch probably worked only because I was one of the first ones on the scene. We saw that as her popularity increased, other sites quickly sprouted up and displaced mine from the number 3 spot I held for quite some time. Of course, if I had actually had something to say, it might've turned out three times as hillarious, as I'd get to deal with Georgy's feminist posse.
The key, then, is to find something which is a curiosity and is likely to get noticed, but which isn't heavily covered as a topic on its own. We'll see if we think of anything.
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Curdgeous Search Details
Despite having moved to page 5, I'm still getting huge Georgy Russell search visitor numbers, but the strangest search has to be the person who searched for "Proposition 54" on Lycos and clicked on my website... which is search result number 266! From a Livermore IP, no less. Maybe it was lab work. (By the way, they just found another $3 million "misplaced" at LBNL)
The most interesting domain I've been visited from is an "Old Style Arpanet" .arpa IP. Wha? I'm not the only one wondering. It still exists?
As far as search terms go, Georgy and Russell obviously win the first two spots, with the misspelled "Russel" winning number 3. Yes. She's so popular that people misspelling her name account for more of my hits than anything related to my blog. "Thong," "Naked," and "Thongs" get spots 7, 11, and 13, which raises the question, if Georgy Russell is the people's candidate, why doesn't she bare all for the people? That is what they want, after all. (Bring on the flames, Georgy girls!) Bringing up the rear are Koloff and Skoloff, which leave me thinking... um........ eh? I've never used either of those words (to my knowledge) nor are they words (to my knowledge... they are names, though).
Otherwise, though, it's probably time to expand my horizons. I've been linked a few times as "that weird guy who took the Georgy campaign a tad too seriously" (try a search for "Georgy Watch" (with the quotes) and you'll see what I mean) but otherwise nothing, and definitely nothing I could start a fun war over. (I might've been able to have some fun with Tobi of "Almost a Diary" but I didn't notice the link until today (16 days later)) This means, then, that I have to try a new publicity stunt. Consider it a grand experiment in searchenginology. (I'm only google's 13th search for beetle thong, which gives me a frightening idea) If anyone wants to get in on the fun, or has any ideas which they'd love to do themselves but wouldn't want to decimate their blog with, let me know! !!!!!!
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No, you're wrong
Sex on Tuesday's obsession with anal continues, this time to the point of encouraging anal rape. "Even if your partner isn't down with the idea of sending anything in the "out" door, if you lightly brush his anus with your fingertips during your next blow or hand job, he might surprise himself by craving more." That sounds suspiciously like "Even if she says no, she really does want it."
GSI's are getting online ethics tests. Here's a sample:
Question 1: Cheating.
C) Depends on whether student is willing to sleep with you
Question 2: How deeply should politics enter into your teaching style.
A) Deeper than SoT's recommendations of hand-up-the-ass.
B) As deep as SoT's recommendations of hand-up-the-ass.
C) Meh. Nobody cares.
D) Political thinkers encouraged to seek other employment.
Question 3: Are you Jessica Quindel's bitch?
Question 4: Where is your student government money going?
A) Services actually helpful to grad students
B) Lobbying for racial somethingorother
C) Fighting ASUC lawsuits funded by undergrad student government money
D) The university pays me, dumbass
Kriss Worthington says things! I can't resist!
On Berkeley Bowl, a struggle for unionizing Berkeley Bowl employees, specifically, not a rally for Gray Davis, Cruz Bustamante, or Racial equality: "'No on the recall, Yes on Bustamante,' and 'No on Proposition 54.'"
On some monument: "Native American culture is based on respecting Mother Earth and the environment. It is so appropriate to have this monument here at Berkeley (built by destroying plots of Mother Earth's land with construction vehicles that pollute the environment)."
And finally, people are complaining about the stadium, specifically the lighting (which, according to the article, isn't actually there). "'You could read a newspaper [at night] in the house it’s so bright,' said (Jeanne) Allen." Oh, that's terrible. I can read a newspaper at night, too. I turn on the lights. You should be glad that you get to save electricity.
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