Sunday, October 31, 2004
Only 2 more days
Yes, only two more days until we no longer have to hear people tell us how to vote. In two days, the decision will finally be in the hands of the people who deserve it: Hordes upon hordes of lawyers. Will people stop talking about it, though? Ha! We're not that lucky.
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It's the longest day of the year today. What did you do to celebrate? I stared at a wall blankly for an hour to compensate.
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Saturday, October 30, 2004
Tonight we take back our hour from the Daylight Savings gnomes. Don't forget.
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Friday, October 29, 2004
A new phase in the Alt-Weekly wars is heating up. The San Francisco Bay Guardian has sued (again) New Times Newspapers and its local alt-weeklies, East Bay Express and SF Weekly, on the charge of, as far as I can tell, "Being better at business than we are."
SF Weekly responds. (Bottom piece) Funny stuff.
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Some people have feelings, you know
From The Examiner, reader Naomi Godsey:
So sad that in a city as open to discussion and public discourse as San Francisco, our "local paper" doesn't reflect that view. Shame on you.
Ouch. If I was with The Chronicle, I'd have my feelings hurt, if the tabloidish Examiner out "local paper"s the well-established victorious Chronicle. I guess that's what they get for campaigning for Kerry instead of, you know, reporting the news.
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Spite wins again!
Dave Coleman knows why I want to see Bush win. Remember, even if you really really really want to see Bush lose, you still only get the same size vote as they guy over there who just sort of wants to see Bush win. (a smaller one if he's not in California) Why do you think Gray Davis became governor?
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Good point, bad form
Cheers to the Daily Cal for opposing pointless symbolic measures. But jeers for the crappy form of the oppositon. For one thing, the last three WHEREASes should probably be the same WHEREAS. And the two resolutions are:
The Daily Californian denounces symbolic measures and will not tolerate the regular waste of money, time and resources by our city and student government on these resolutions rooted outside reality.
Will not tolerate? In what way will the DC not tolerate these resolutions? Will they steal the newspapers of the opponents?
The Daily Californian officially boycotts such symbolic motions in the coming election and in the everyday functioning of our local governments.
In what way will they boycott? The DC doesn't have a vote, after all. The DC did cover measure H in their news.
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Yay, no Andrew F. Adams
I totally assumed that The Daily Cal would throw in another Andrew F. Adams column before the election, and was pleasantly suprised to not see it at first. But then I noticed they had brought in a Guest Andrew F. Adams for today, one Professor Arthur Blaustein.
Summary: A Bush victory will be bad, so you should vote for Kerry. That doesn't make any sense, of course, since our voting for Kerry has no impact on whether there will be a Bush victory or not, but meh, whatever.
The only issue he [Bush] has going for him is a manipulative one: that of trying to scare the hell out of the American people with terrorist rhetoric.
Whoa, that sounds bad. We don't want people trying to scare the hell out of the American people.
If Bush is re-elected and the Republicans keep control of Congress, the consequences could be devastating.
Uh, wait, didn't you just say...
With another Bush victory, and big-time IOUs from the religious right and the National Rifle Association coming due, things could get ugly very fast.
Umm... are you sure you meant...
With four more years of Bush’s economic policies, we could wind up on the “endangered nations” list.
Okay, okay, hold it. What exactly was your complaint about Bush trying to scare the hell out of the American public?
But there are many crucial differences between the candidates and the stakes are extremely high. They include the Supreme Court, women’s choice, the environment, campaign finance reform, the economy, the resumption of the draft, separation of church and state, civil liberties, the national debt, public education, health insurance, Medicare and Social Security.
Interesting. 50 points for whoever can explain the differences between the two candidates on the following issues, selected from the list:
Campaign finance reform
The resumption of the draft
Separation of church and state
. . .
McMike strikes a blow for the Little Guy* by pointing out that many students will benefit from an earlier drop deadline, and that there exist students who want it.
* "Little Guy" is used in the usual sense, i.e. "Everyone who agrees with me, regardless of metaphorical size."
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Thursday, October 28, 2004
What an ugly...
Is Klausner ugly or what?
Shanta Driver, the national co-chair of the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action By Any Means Necessary, lamented the plunge in the number of black and Hispanic undergraduate admits at UC Berkeley after the passage of Proposition 209, which she said has created a “reign of terror” on UC campuses.
“California is a majority-minority state, and now we are faced with the possibility of having a California with the best public education options being reserved for the white minority.” Driver said.
Driver fiercely attacked the “lie of meritocracy,” saying that standardized tests and grade point averages are biased. Driver said testing companies deliberately put in questions biased in favor of white students.
“We can have a race-caste system that is protected by law, or we can extend opportunity to all students by defending affirmative action here in California and across the nation,” Driver said, as some students stood up and cheered.
I can see the testing company folks now. "Hmm, 60 degrees is an angle only white people know."
Anyway, I was criticized for my comment that the coverage for Law Dean Christopher Edley seemed to suggest that his only qualification was that he was black.
Dean of Boalt Hall Christopher Edley moderated the debate and made his closing remarks by answering a question from an audience member about whether he believed his race was a consideration in his appointment.
“I hope that my race played a substantial part in my appointment because if people weren’t paying attention to my race, they weren’t paying attention to who I am and what kind of dean I hope to be.”
I'm glad to see even more black people who aren't actually people.
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Oh, excellent work, Daily Cal:
Tuesday’s article “Group Therapy Now Offered at Tang Center” incorrectly attributed the quote: “I don’t know how comfortable students are going to group therapy. It’s difficult to say that I went to group therapy and not say who is there,” to UC Berkeley senior Fabiola Lao. The quote should have been attributed to a student who suffered from depression, who wished to remain anonymous.
Update: The Daily Cal has corrected their correction by pointing out that it was a different student suffering from depression. They should hire an editor or something.
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Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Finalish thoughts on the election
Generally speaking, I want someone to win. I don't really care who (as far as I can tell, the differences between the "Bush Plan" and the "Kerry Plan" are cosmetic), but I don't particularly want to see the mess afterward. If it does turn messy, pragmatically I'd want to see Kerry win, since disappointed Bush supporters probably wouldn't go murdering and rioting, while I can't make the same guess about Kerry supporters (or, more accurately, anti-Bush supporters).
On the other hand, I want to see Bush win the election mostly because I don't want to be associated with those anti-Bush nutcases. I'd rather see the world destroyed than agree with them. (which, they claim, is the choice I have) Petty? Maybe. But why not? If it's just about living another day, what's the point of living? You have to live on some kind of principle.
. . .
Andro gets it:
It is tempting to support an initiative that will benefit me personally. But I fear that by advocating so strongly in our own interests, concerned scientists like myself will lose the ability to objectively criticize corporate robber barons.
It's not about ideals. It's about retaining complaining rights. Beetle strongly approves this message.
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Tuesday, October 26, 2004
MY drop deadline
The ASUC put on a party, complete with Gatorade (TM) and Ritz (TM) crackers in front of Campbell hall to protest the attempted change in the drop deadline to the 2nd week for impacted classes, and the 4th week for others. You might wonder "Hey, wait a minute, there's no way you can fit a 'Day of Action' on that little sidewalk in front of Campbell." Turns out you can, if about 25 people show.
The "Action" consisted of holding some signs and offering petitions to passersby. Oh, and writing complaints on a board. The DC photographer caught some great pictures, including one of a passerby signing a petition (although the passerby in question was only stopping because the person holding the petition was a friend of hers). I stood nearby and worked on the Daily Cal crossword, waiting to see if anything interesting happened. I left after about a half-hour. Some notes:
AAVP Rocky Gade talks really fast.
Some of the petitioners got aggressively annoying, with angry shouts of "Come on, it'll only take a minute of your time," and "Let's see you walk away when you're the one affected!"
The call for petitions was mostly "They want to change our drop deadline!" I'm not entirely sure how they can claim ownership to a deadline. If they can, I can, and I say "I want to see my drop deadline pushed earlier."
"Compromise." Compromise is the reason we're allowed to drop at all. Apparently, to these people, "Compromise" means "Give in to all of our demands."
"Students First." Moving the deadline up helps students, too, you know. It should've read "Students who agree with me First!"
"How can we decide whether to take a class after just a few lectures." Umm... by paying attention?
"Why should students' futures suffer?" I agree. Why should students be denied from entering their classes because a bunch of people want to wait to decide whether to drop or not.
"A lot of people I know didn't know they want to drop 'till the 7th week." What a coincidence. A lot of people I know knew they wanted into a class before the 1st week, but couldn't get in because it was full. Yet strangely enough, there was still plenty of space available at the 7th week, when it was too late to get in.
All in all, the unfortunate thing is that most students (at least the real students) are hugely benefited by an earlier drop deadline, but are too busy worrying about classes (because they're willing to take classes that aren't cakewalks) to show up to protest these protests. It's not an issue for me anymore, but someone really needs to counter-petition this petition. A one-sided petition doesn't tell anything about how students feel.
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Let's see, vote number...
Ever wonder if, maybe, we're voting for too much? After all, we're electing representatives to represent us.
Example: The Daily Cal spits out its endorsements, referring to votes on:
Seven state and regional representatives.
Sixteen state measures.
Ten local representatives.
Fifteen local measures.
That's forty-eight (48), for those of you keeping count. How genuinely informed can you get on forty-eight (48) votes?
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Monday, October 25, 2004
Good idea or right idea?
What's the difference between a good idea and a right idea? In the world of discourse, an idea has to be both good and right. It has to be a right idea in that you're convinced of it, and it has to be a good idea in that you can convince someone else of it.
For example: Rebecca is the local standardbearer for veganism here in blogworld. For her, veganism is a "right idea" in that "Holy crap, killing animals when you don't need to is disgusting." (Correct me if that's not quite correct, RebC) Still, such an argument only really applies to folks who are already vegan. As a result, the argument has to be made that veganism is a "good idea," in that it uses less of the world's resources, is healthier, and other various etceteras, in order to reach out to the non-vegan world.
The problem? Well, it's not wholly believable. If my understanding is correct, even if veganism was not healthier or more efficient, "Right idea" vegans would still be vegans. The fact that all the evidence in the world says "veganism good" seems like it may be a little more than coincidence.
Too subtle? Look at the presidential election. Not only do people make things up to support their guy, they'll interpret any detail as being a positive reflection on their guy. Do we believe it? I hope not. Some people do, it seems, but I think most people don't.
But it begs the question, who exactly do you listen to? Someone without an opinion on an issue? It might be nice, I guess, but most people don't have opinions on issues because they don't care about the issue, and so they won't have anything to say for you to listen to. Do you listen to both/all sides of the issue? You can try, I guess, but then all you're left with are two positions that have been made completely unconvincing by each other.
Try F1. Maybe that'll work.
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I picked up a copy of the Cal Patriot today, and found something a bit lacking. Specifically, hyphens. Yes, that's right, the Patriot published without putting hyphens at their end-of-line word breaks. Seriously, dudes. That's pretty pathetic.
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Honor in laziness
Sunday was the second annual "Let's Be Lazy Day," ("Take Back Your Time Day") described as "a national movement encouraging Americans to work less and enjoy their lives more." The assumption being that you can't enjoy your life with work. Go to Europe, if you really feel that way. Around here, we tend to be of the belief that hard work is something to be proud of, and being lazy isn't.
"Other countries, because of the way they operate, either culturally or government-wise, are structured to have a better work-life balance," Latourrette said. "In our society, it's up to the individual how they structure their life ... it's like a badge of honor to work 60, 70 hour weeks. What's honorable about that?"
Yeah, how absurd for us to allow individuals to decide how much they want to work. It's better to let the government tell us how much we should work. That'll lead to life-enjoyment.
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Sunday, October 24, 2004
Things could be worse, I guess
The University of Kansas plans to pay homage to [Godzilla] later this month, organizing a three-day scholarly conference for the 50th anniversary of his first film.
Oh, you crazy Jayhawks, what will you think of next?
Atop the movie theater will be an inflatable 28-foot Godzilla balloon.
Sorry for asking.
In other news, Kansas State is doing actual scholarly work (I assume).
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ACLU sues FBI over Muslim interviews. The picture associated with the article is sort of a melding of a gavel and a greenish map of the world that's supposed to look high-tech. Okay.
"We are trying to get much greater sunshine over these activities," said ACLU attorney John Crew.
And who's going to oppose greater sunshine?
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My favorite kind of science
"We're going to hit it and see what happens."
Anyone know why CNN has a "Science and Space" section? Why isn't space included in science? That'd be like "Science and Biology," or "Science and Antarctica."
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Saturday, October 23, 2004
We're all gonna' die!!!!!
Humanity's reliance on fossil fuels, the spread of cities, the destruction of natural habitats for farmland and over-exploitation of the oceans are destroying Earth's ability to sustain life, the environmental group WWF warned in a new report Thursday.
The Competitive Enterprise Institutue (CEI) then smashed a chair made out of chopped down rainforest on the WWF's back.
Anyway, big whoop. The future'll figure something out, or everybody'll die. Why should it matter to me which happens?
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Friday, October 22, 2004
On to the LotR analogy.
Urs Cipolat wants us to stop running the nuclear weapon labs. He then compares them to the Ring of Power in "Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings." (Yep, the director is the one who brings out the important moral issues, not the one who wrote the book)
Frodo faces two choices: either follow his conscience and throw the Ring into Mount Doom, or give in to his desire for power, keep the Ring, and perish. Frodo hesitates. In the end, it is only thanks to the moral purity of his simple helper, Sam, that he finds the strength to rid himself of the treacherous Ring.
Boy, Sam's going to be pissed that he's the "simple helper." However, I can't help but recall that it isn't Sam who convinces Frodo to ditch the ring, but rather it was Golem, using the persuasive technique of biting his fucking finger off.
Another important detail I might add is that by getting rid of the ring, Frodo destroys it. By getting rid of the labs, we just give them to someone else. The comparison would be "Frodo gives the ring to some other, probably more evil guy." Is that what we really want?
That's right. IDS. Lecturer.
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This has to be the stupidest Op-Ed I've read in, like, a long time. "Urs Cipolat is an interdisciplinary studies field lecturer at UC Berkeley." That explains a lot.
I'll put the Lord of the Rings comparison on hold, as that's the best and I'll save it for last.
A closer look at the two opinion polls reveals an interesting fact. While the lecturer survey emphasized that the two labs are the cradle of the nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal, the professor survey did not. Instead, it stressed science-related aspects of UC’s collaboration with the labs. The term “nuclear weapons” cannot be found in the professor survey, while it is used frequently in the lecturer survey.
Well, lecturers don't usually do research, so they're pretty free to stand on absurd ideologies and say "No, don't do research." Professors usually do research, so they actually have to worry about that.
First, UC is a university. Its central mission is educating people in the humanist tradition, not destroying them. UC can no longer allow itself to be co-opted into being complicit in the creation of weapons of mass destruction.
The humanist tradition, eh? Not everyone is a liberal arts major, you know. Some of us actually have to invent such things as newspapers and computers to allow you to spout your complaints.
Second, nuclear weapons are weapons of mass murder. They cannot discriminate between combatants and civilians. They kill indiscriminately—men, women and children. That’s why their use and threat to use, under international law, is prohibited. By allowing many of the 16,000 UC employees at the labs to maintain the existing and develop new “usable” nuclear weapons, UC is violating international law.
This person's pretty creative, first using LotR as an analogy, and then inventing something called "international law."
Third, all weapons of mass destruction activities are immoral.
Ohh, okay. That's a convincing argument.
UC and its employees at the labs are running the risk of facing criminal prosecution in foreign countries if they do not stop their WMD related work.
No, they don't, because foreign countries don't have the power to criminally prosecute our citizens.
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National World does not respect International World
What does Nicolas Sauveur from Belgium have to say about us? We don't care. Still, it's clear that Sauveur doesn't have a good grasp on how to report polling data.
More than 60 percent of British polled say they do not like Mr. Bush.
If you pick any given politician, including Bush, more than 60 percent of Americans are likely to say that they don't like that politician. We don't like our politicians in general. This suggests that the British like them more than we do.
In South Korea, where the U.S. fall in the hearts and minds started with George Bush's presidency, 72 percent have negative feelings towards Bush.
In America, about 100 percent of people have negative feelings towards just about anyone else you can think of. Emotions are like that.
You deserve to be respected, appreciated and safe. It will never happen under George Bush.
Respected, eh? Is that why you're talking down to us?
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You guys are idiots
The ASUC Senate passed a bill Wednesday night to post a sign outside the senate chambers warning guests to avoid “malicious” behavior, a move some senators fear may deter guests from attending the open meetings.
Yeah, to ask that people not be assholes is absurd.
“I feel it is important that we let our guests know that we have a zero-tolerance policy for malicious hate speech and physical intimidation,” said Student Action Senator Evan Bloom, who wrote the bill.
I think it's important to note the phrase "malicious hate speech" here. Since nowadays, everything seems to be called hate speech ("Shut up, you underrepresented bitch), a new term has to be formed, "malicious hate speech," to contrast with non-malicious hate speech, also known as normal speech that some sensitive person is offended by.
“We want to foster an environment that is welcoming to all the students we represent, not to deter them from even entering senate chambers,” [CalSERVE Senator Dena Takruri] said.
It must be pretty embarrassing to have a constituency which feels unwelcome anywhere it is asked to not engage in "malicious verbal attacks or physical intimidation."
“We haven’t had any diversity training, and there have been issues in the past that show that it’s needed,” said CalSERVE Senator Dorie Perez.
Excellent! Here's Beetle's ten second diversity training course:
See that guy over there? See the person next to him? Notice that those are two different people? We call that diversity. Class dismissed.
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I'm not a person. I'm black
Disclaimer: I am not black
That's the message I hear, anyway.
This seven-year dropoff in numbers has led the black student community to learn how to cope with increasing strains on their student groups and how to face the campus at large...
One possibility is to start talking to people who aren't black. You know, mingle. Say "Hey, I'm not just black, I'm a person, too."
UC Berkeley student Arlena Ann Ford disagrees, saying that it would lend weight to misconceptions about black students.
“A united black community perpetuates stereotypes,” she says. “People are told that they’re not black enough or that they’re too black.”
Indeed, black students say it becomes harder to fight stereotypes with less enrollment each year.
“As a black student, lots of people automatically assume that you’re either militant and against everything else going on at Cal, or that you’re a student athlete,” says Obi Amajoyi, coordinator of Kappa Alpha Psi, a black fraternity which organized the week’s events.
This must be another queer English trick. "Person A says 'A is true.' Indeed, Person B disagrees." Anyway, people think you're militant and against everything else when you try to speak with a "cohesive black voice" instead of with an "individual human voice."
“Lots of times you’re walking down Sproul and people don’t hand you flyers that they are handing other people, or you walk into the res halls and people look at you like you don’t go here,” [Freshman Arthur Jackson] says. “It takes a lot to get past that.”
People skip handing me flyers, too. I consider that to be a boon. But yeah, once, I saw this black guy walk into one of the units, and the security monitor was all, "Dude, I have to see your ID." What racism.
With the classroom comes expectations that all black students will represent the viewpoints of the black community. As the only black student in her anthropology section, UC Berkeley senior Josie Hyman felt a huge burden to be a standard-bearer for her race, as her GSI tossed around the N-word in discussions about graffiti and marginalized communities.
“She turned to me to say sorry, but now that’s a lot more pressure on me to account for her ignorance,” Hyman says. “It’s kind of like working two jobs —it’s that in addition to worrying about the class and the work.”
Haha. Hahahaha. Hyman. Anyway, there's a simple solution to this problem. "Umm, teacher lady, I'm not the black race, I'm a person who just happens to be black."
Anyway, yay! Black students unite with one voice to fight stereotypes!
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Thursday, October 21, 2004
Oh, there is a solution, but
WHINE! says the SF Chron. The electoral college sucks, because no one cares what we think here in California.
Solution? Abolish the electoral college! That's a solution that A) California has little control over, and B) helps Democrats.
Alternative solution, not suggested by the Chron at all: Abolish the winner-take-all system here in California. That's a solution that A) California has control over, and B) helps Republicans.
So why doesn't the SF Chron suggest this solution? Duh... "But really, it's about having our voices heard, not about partisanship... really..."
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In the paper newspaper, this story comes with the byline: "New Documentary Proves Mac Users Clinically Disturbed." While the statement is undoubtedly correct, it doesn't quite seem to fit with the story about... well, not Mac users. Perhaps it was someone's idea of a good joke.
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Wednesday, October 20, 2004
To be independent
It used to mean that being "Independent" meant that you weren't affiliated with any party. Now it means you are affiliated with the "Independent Party." So you now have to say "Decline to State" to become unaffiliated. Which raises the obvious question, why don't some people create the "Decline to State Party" and rake in the registrants while confusion reigns? You could even argue "Oh, our party is about how things are declining into a more powerful state. Really."
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Uh... I seem to have misplaced sense
What does Garin Hovannisian have to say about voting? Don't vote for a third party. The arguments are:
The underlying point is simple. Americans generally understand that in the choice between two candidates, they must vote for one of them.
The argument I have presented above will not move those who believe that their votes do not count. That these people say, "My vote doesn't count," then go to the voting booths astounds many people.
But it shouldn't. It shouldn't because the purpose of voting is not to pick single-handedly the next president of the United States but to participate in a sacred process – a process that has served this country well for more than two centuries. A vote might not decide the outcome of the race, but it will contribute in some small way to the candidate who received it and, more importantly, to the process that makes all of this talk possible.
Uh... Well, if the point is just to participate in this sacred process (which, by the way, is a steaming load of horse dung), then it doesn't matter who you vote for at all. If the point is not to participate but to select a candidate, it still doesn't matter because your vote doesn't count towards the selection of a candidate.
What this gobbledygook comes down to is this – your vote will not decide the presidential election, but you should vote anyway. You should vote because the process of democracy is important to you.
You should vote for a main-party candidate. You should because you do not want to be a loser and because, if the improbable happens – if the candidate opposing your beliefs wins by one vote – you do not want to be the one in therapy.
Oooookay, then. You should vote for a candidate because you don't want to be a loser. Which means, don't worry about who is the better candidate, vote for who you think is going to win. But also because the process of democracy is important to you. Yep, yep.
. . .
I am the greetest!
Mayor Bates commissioned a report on how good Berkeley was at providing services. Shockingly, the report says "Berkeley is really really good!!!! Vote for more taxes!!!!"
“They have numbers like swimming pools per resident. What does that mean?” [former mayor Shirley] Dean said. “You can’t just take something out of the blue—they don’t give the kinds of things a serious study would lay out.”
Well, that's good news. The weather's nice, I think I'll go for a swim.
Berkeley ranked above average for most services, including number of libraries, fire fighters and homeless shelter beds, and approximately average on total expenditures.
Whew, that's a relief. I'm glad we don't have a homeless problem here, what with all those homeless shelter beds. (smashing self in face continues) Thanks, Mayor Bates! Did you study number of stolen newspapers?
. . .
If you didn't already know...
Sheesh, Bay Area Californians are weaklings. You can defeat them up just by spraying water on them.
. . .
As of 8:45 this morning, a Register to Vote sign-thingie is still sitting in front of Dwinelle Plaza (the last day to register was Monday). To all you get-out-the-vote folks... I know you think that since you can vote you don't have to listen to your mothers anymore, but you still need to clean up after yourselves. Thanks.
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Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Well, no biggie. Operation Guardian. The Guardian (the Brit one) is conducting a campaign to give addresses of Clark County, Ohio, voters to various non-Americans so that they can write letters in an attempt to influence our election. Aussie Tim Blair, somehow related to all this, is encouraging folks to respond cheerfully and send some feedback to The Guardian. Beetle approves. Send feedback. Send lots and lots of feedback. Also, don't forget to write UK voters when their elections come around.
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Oh, look, it's Mr. Adams
Tired of reading Andrew F. Adams's irrelevant calls for Bush's defeat if a solidly Blue state? The Daily Cal apparently isn't.
This continued denial of the failures in Iraq may be politically shrewd, but still deplorable—the president is lying. He’s lying to himself and to the American public, and it just might cost him his job.
Well, maybe. Then again, telling the truth almost certainly would cost him his job, so I'm not sure that argument is all that sound.
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Stupid Letter of the Day
This one comes from The Boston Globe about voter apathy:
SCOT LEHIGH writes about an issue that has bothered me for months: the undecided voter ("Too picky to vote," op ed, Oct. 15). Lehigh zeros in on the fact that in many, if not most, cases, "undecided" really means uninformed, uncaring, and quite possibly un-American.
Seldom have the differences between two candidates for president been more clear. To suggest otherwise, as in the tiresome rhetoric of Naderites, is ludicrous.
Moreover, any voter who plans to avoid the polls on Election Day because neither candidate is "any good" is wallowing in ignorance and a swollen sense of self-importance. Great or not, those are the choices this time around: Pick one and jump in.
That's the American way. Pick one and jump in. Don't wait to make your judgment as late as possible soas to allow yourself the most time to gather information about candidates. No, no, you should pick a side and then whine in a partisan fashion for months leading up to the election, and probably for months afterwards.
Dumb New Englanders.
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Monday, October 18, 2004
Ever wonder about sculpture berkeley gsi october 2004 blog? I know I haven't. But I have wondered about who wonders about that. Guesses?
. . .
Oh, you silly linguists
So I picked up George Lakoff's Don't Think of an Elephant: blah blah more words, and I'm impressed. The following things jumped out at me from the first few pages.
The book doesn't look edited. The book was rushed out to make it in time for the election, so it's written like a speech. There's nothing wrong with writing something like a speech when you're planning a speech, but if you're writing a book, it's problematic. Example:
People do not necessarily vote in their self-interest. They vote their identity. They vote their values. They vote for who they can identify with. They may identify with their self-interest. That can happen. It is not that people never care about their self-interest. But they vote their identity. And if their identity fits their self-interest, they will vote for that. It is important to understand this point. It is a serious mistake to assume that people are simply always voting their self-interest. (p. 19)
Now, count sentences, and then count how many things were said. I guess progressives are just really stupid and have to have things repeated to them even when reading. "Political advice for people who aren't willing to move their eyes up a line to reread something they didn't quite get the first time around." But see below.
The book is disingenuous. Not really a criticism, (his point is that progressives need to be more disingenuous) but I read something so funny I just had to point it out. This quote has a lot of ellipses, since the statement is spread out over half a page (see above), but the meaning really is intact:
Clinton figured out how to handle this problem. He stole the other side's language. He talked about "welfare reform," for example. He said, "The age of big government is over." ...
It turns out what is good for the goose is good for the gander, and guess what? We get "compassionate conservatism." The Clear Skies Initiative. Healthy Forests. No Child Left Behind... This is the use of Orwellian language- language that means the opposite of what it says- to appease people in the middle at the same time as you pump up the base. This is part of the conservative strategy. (p. 21)
Yeah, you read that right. "Clinton did 'this.' Conservatives copied 'this.' 'This' is part of the conservative strategy."
His book's thesis seems to deny any possible effectiveness for his book. If the problem is framing, and no matter how many facts you throw at someone, it won't work if it doesn't fit in their frame, how does throwing the facts of "Gee, these strategies worked really well for conservatives" at progressives even have the slightest chance of making a difference? Presumably, this question will be answered in Part 2: From Theory to Action. But skimming through the section on "what progressives should do," (which, by the way, is VERY SHORT, compared to the rest of the book which appears to be just bitching about conservatives) it doesn't look that promising.
. . .
Coalition to Register Voters May Miss Goals. Well, good. I figure they deserve it for apparently losing my registration form. Oh, well. I was already not voting out of spite, so it works out. Let me reiterate, though...
Hahaha, oh, man, you guys suck so bad.
[External Affairs Vice President Liz] Hall said the low numbers also stems from students registering on their own during the summer.
Yeah, sure, whatever you say, lady. Also, Daily Cal subject-verb agreement?
. . .
How many protesters in a horde?
Oooh, protest. We want more money. Excellent!
After several speeches slamming the university’s treatment of UC workers on the steps of Sproul, the protesters marched to the intersection of Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way and rallied in the street, blocking traffic for nearly 10 minutes.
Oh, that's right. Since we don't get enough wages, we'll make it so that everyone else can't get their wages, either. Mmm, Berkeley justice.
More than one hundred UC service workers and dozens of UC Berkeley students marched through campus Friday afternoon to protest what they say are poor working conditions and low wages.
The hordes of protesters drew a heavy police presence. At least a dozen police officers kept watch, with a few videotaping the proceedings from the balcony of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union.
Does "More than one hundred" plus "dozens" count as "hordes" in Berkeley? I don't really think so. Although you might wonder why the police sat there watching for ten minutes while the protesters blocked traffic. What's the point in having laws if you're not going to enforce them?
The protesters—who carried drums to beat in rhythm to rallying cries of “we’re fired up, won’t take it no more”—said Friday’s rally was the largest yet.
Someone want to wager that they'll be taking it more?
. . .
Next time you rob a bank
You may want to consider using something other than public transit as your getaway vehicle.
Police then caught up with the bus at the intersection of Telegraph Avenue and Russell Street, where they removed the suspect, Darius Shadzad, from the bus without a struggle and arrested him, Schofield said.
One of my friends was on that bus, and if he is to be believed (not necessarily the case), "removed the suspect without a struggle" is a bit of an exaggeration.
. . .
But what about my feelings?
Prop 66 is the ultimate "Feel Good" proposition, as it pits "Oh, think of the children" against "That's too mean." It basically says the third strike of Three Strikes needs to be a serious/violent crime. They even throw in a "More harsh penalties for sex offenses against children" for good emotional measure.
Beetle the Ideological Voter finds the concept of punishing a person for his failure to lawfully re-enter society to be perfectly acceptable. Repeat violent offenders who are still committing crimes have shown themselves to be incapable of living in society, regardless of how minor their third crime is. NO on 66.
Beetle the Pragmatic Voter figures that for a repeat violent offender who is still committing crimes, it's really just a matter of time before that person commits a violent crime. Nevertheless, the chance that BPV will be a victim of such a crime is not large enough to consider all that seriously, and throwing people out on the streets increases court and police costs but reduces prison costs. Passing Prop 66 will also ward off lawsuits until the next high profile repeat offender gets a new three strikes passed. YES on 66.
Beetle the Entertainer doesn't find anything all that funny about violent crime or about prison time. But sometimes career criminals commit crimes very, very stupidly. Or something. NO on 66, just to hear the whining from the "OMG UNFAIRZ!" crowd.
Beetle the Bitter Foe of All Humanity wants more criminals on the streets. NO on 66.
. . .
Prop 64. The absurd notion that people actually have to be hurt in order to sue for damages.
Beetle the Idealistic Voter feels that since the arguments against this law basically say "Yes, we know we're exploiting a loophole, but it's for a good cause," it's not for a good cause. Lawsuits are means to curtail and rectify damages by one party upon another. If no damages exist, there should be no lawsuit. YES on 64.
Beetle the Pragmatic Voter plans to leave California, and the Earth in general, before it is completely destroyed, and therefore is unconcerned with the environmental impact of Prop 64. The people who benefit from these kinds of lawsuits are invariably not BPV, while those who suffer are those who supply BPV cheaply with products built off the sweat and blood of those less fortunate. The choice is clear. YES on 64.
Beetle the Entertainer reminds readers that "Little guy vs Big guy" lawsuits make for great inflated rhetoric by one party and trite "no comment" statements by the other. This is a valuable resource we can't possibly risk losing. NO on 64.
Beetle the Bitter Foe of All Humanity recognizes that this proposition could have a significant environmental impact and broaden the ability of corporations to exploit humanity. YES on 64.
. . .
Prop 63. Who could possibly vote against mental health? The prop taxes the people making over $1M a year by 1% to spend on mental health stuff.
Beetle the Idealistic Voter has always felt a little uncomfortable with the argument: "Hey, dude, don't worry, we're only taxing rich people, there's no need for you to worry." Maybe he just doesn't like being so blatantly pandered to. Just so you're all paying attention, we're asking a small percentage of individuals to pay over $10,000 each to cover the cost of mental health problems which affect society as a whole. NO on 63.
Beetle the Pragmatic Voter, on the other hand, greatly enjoys being blatantly pandered to. Taxing rich people is no skin off BPV's nose, and he figures the trickle-down effect will be minimized. BPV seriously doubts the proposition will actually improve mental health, however (such plans rarely do), and this does impose spending restrictions, which end up coming from the General Fund in the future (remember that mandated funding for this program only means there'll be that much less discretionary funding for this program, leading to a net increase in government spending everywhere else). So NO on 63.
Beetle the Entertainer strongly opposes this initiative, as, BPV's doubts notwithstanding, it could possibly help with mental health problems among the population. Mental health problems are highly entertaining, so BE says NO on 63.
Beetle the Bitter Foe of All Humanity doesn't like crazy people, and doesn't like other people, and hopes that insufficient treatment for crazy people will lead to the crazy people killing the other people and maybe themselves. So NO on 63.
. . .
Check out this letter
Second one, a philosophy student (hahaha.. HAHAHA... oh, man... hahaha) named Jordan Parker:
Republicans must improve protest skills to effect change
On Tuesday Michael Moore came to speak to UCLA, and the Bruin Republicans were protesting his speech. Look, I know you guys are new at this, but let me give you some tips when it comes to protesting.
First of all, don't aimlessly walk in a circle – you won't get your point across. Maybe someone could write a catchy song, or do a dance or maybe show some gruesome pictures of Michael Moore gorging himself on lots of food.
You guys definitely have some work to do. Perhaps that's why your MEChA protest wasn't all that effective.
I wonder if this guy attended any of those highly successful anti-war protests. Maybe he showed up to fight fee increases. Way to effect change, dude. The Republicans aren't the only ones whose protests do nothing.
. . .
Must be a Brit thing
U.S.: How do the newspapers here compare to the ones back home?
U.K.: Lots of adverts. There’s not much content or substance. There is international news but it’s always just Iraq and Israel-Palestine. I feel kind of cut off from the rest of the world. You don’t really trust what you’re reading or watching as much as you do in England. There are so many underwear ads.
Let's put aside for the moment that she's apparently comparing England's major newspapers with The Daily Cal, a student-run campus publication. Our news is untrustworthy, coming from a country that reads things like "The Sun" and "The Guardian" as newspapers, rather than tabloids. Okay, sure.
U.S.: What do you think of California public transportation?
U.K.: Brilliant, it’s free. It’s punctual, but there isn’t enough of it. BART is clean, but there aren’t enough routes. But it’s ridiculous because of how you pay for it. We were standing in front of the machine, thinking, “What do you do?” Plus and minus? Why don’t they just put the stops on and you can press the button? We have that in Yorkshire, they could bloody have it in San Francisco.
It's free? Which public transit are you using? Do you really have that little understanding of where your student fees go? You can't figure out how to add and subtract numbers? BART has flexibility like that, but if you can't add, I guess it bites you in the ass. Do they not use addition in Yorkshire? And they complain about our education system.
Someone came up to me and asked if I wanted to join the fashion society, and I said, “What fashion?” Gray sweatshirt, blue jeans, white trainers, that’s Berkeley.
We call that fashion sense. That is, sensible fashion. We usually have better things to do with our money.
. . .
Sunday, October 17, 2004
How Queer, Part... uh... M
GOOOOOOOGLE! Boalt Queer Blog. That's me, all right. I wonder what the searcher was actually looking for? I looked over the search results and couldn't find a good candidate.
Lately, I've been getting search hits from people searching for "pro-racism" as well. What kind of gloober looks up "Pro-racism"?
. . .
Interestingly, from what I could hear, last night's drunken revelry was much calmer than Friday night's drunken revelry. What gives? Shouldn't we have been celebrating our victory?
. . .
The Chron endorses Kerry!!!
You wonder why they even bother putting a column in at all. They've been endorsing Kerry in their news stories, why bother putting the obvious on the opinion page?
. . .
Ah, memory lane
Oooh. I don't think this one is sidebar-worthy like Silence, Wishes, and the Torment of War, but damn, this one needs to be remembered, too.
Anyway, my favorite comment from a reader: "Beetle, do you know what morality is?"
. . .
Saturday, October 16, 2004
Children! Save the children!
The hillariously named Prop 61 goes towards "Children's hospitals." How can anyone oppose that? Children!!! It's a bond measure.
Beetle the Ideological Voter says NO. The government is in no position to be issuing new bonds.
Beetle the Pragmatic Voter says NO, for the same reason. Also, BPV hates children.
Beetle the Entertainer knows that "leukemia, heart defects, sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis" is no laughing matter, and enormous Californian debt is. YES.
Beetle the Bitter Foe of All Humanity also hates children. NO.
. . .
Just some catch-up
Boring voter proposition!!!
Prop 60A. Oh, man, is this one boring. It was so boring the legislature said "Screw this" and tacked on Prop 60 (keep primaries as they are now). (I'm just making that up, I don't feel like looking up the actual history of 60-60A). Still, it's pretty dull. Gov't Surplus Sales Money goes to paying off our bonds.
Beetle the Ideological Voter: What do I care? Umm... *flip coin* Heads! That's a YES
Beetle the Pragmatic Voter: YES, it pays off the bond quicker, and keeps money out of the general fund, preventing the legislature from using it on stupid programs.
Beetle the Entertainer: NO, because it's boring.
Beetle the Bitter Foe of All Humanity: Seriously, there's no way to hurt humanity with this one. BPV actually has an opinion on the matter, so BBFAH will contradict him and say NO.
. . .
Money! Oh, whoops
I understand that it's a liberal arts college, but do the people controlling the money have to be liberal arts folks, too? Read here.
. . .
Suzanne Gorenfield's call for re-education camps instead of punishment is quickly agreed to by Queer Alliance Chair Paymon Ebrahimzadeh, but he wants the re-education camps to be located off-campus, presumably because Paymon wants to hide the obvious reminder that his being "liberal" is just a sham.
. . .
Friday, October 15, 2004
Just for the record
Says Paul Krugman:
If Bush loses the election but Republicans retain control of Congress, he said, “the attempts to impeach Kerry will begin on Nov. 3.”
Let me know if that's misquoted, anyone who was there. I think it's important for us to keep track of predictions by well-respected scholars such as this one, so we can applaud him for his accuracy when such an event occurs.
. . .
Greek Queer Straight Alliance! Go Andy!
When a flier advertising the Greek Queer Straight Alliance was dropped off at his fraternity, junior J.P. Avila saw an all-too-common display of homophobia.
“One of my brothers said, ‘This faggot dropped off this flier,’ read it and dropped it on the ground,” Avila says.
That's really more like homoindifference than homophobia.
But if he were to come out as gay to his brothers at Acacia, Avila says he would not expect violence, but isolation instead.
Whew. Glad they'll never know. Uh... none of them read The Daily Cal, right?
But the Greek community does not identify with the homophobic label.
You don't say. I totally thought they'd say "Oh, yeah, homophobic, that's us, all right."
. . .
See if you can find the point here. I read it. There's some whining about female representation, ignorance, sleeping on couches, and the like, but I couldn't quite figure out what the point was. Every statement seemed pulled from the hat of absurdity.
As of this year, the population on campus is 54 percent female, yet its governing body, involved in almost all student activities on campus, is only 40 percent female. One questions the ideology behind a representative government when representation is limited to a certain demographic.
Oh, no! Only 40%! That's, like, not exactly 54% out of a sample size of 20. (I wonder if she'd still bitch about 50%, but then bitch in the opposite direction for 55%) If representation was limited to a certain demographic, as she claims, that number would be 0%.
However diverse and divided the women’s community is on campus, we are the majority, not a special interest group. Are we being represented?
Umm... well, if experience tells me anything, being a majority means that your representation becomes irrelevant.
It’s intimidating to be one of only eight female senators in an arena like politics where, historically, women’s voices have been muted or ignored.
Only eight. Out of twenty. Eight is plenty. Would it really be that much less intimidating to be one of 10.8 women?
And in turn, the importance of representing small minority groups is lost when others question the validity of their presence on campus.
Errg, I could've sworn you just said that women are not a minority group. Are we not talking about women anymore? Geez, hold still.
Working in the ASUC is a constant reminder that many people do not understand the importance of fighting prejudice. It’s obvious when senators ignorantly make a faux pas like asking if they can sleep on the couches of the Multicultural Center or make homophobic comments in front of queer students that they do not understand these issues.
Sleep on the couches of the multicultural center? Is that really on the same level as making homophobic comments in front of queer students? Heck, is there anything wrong with sleeping on the couches of the multicultural center?
My fellow senator was right when he wrote that hate stops with the ASUC, but the best way to fight hate differs depending on which senator you ask. I say meet hate and bias head on. I say take a stand, even if it’s unpopular. Lest we forget that the work we do is far more important than winning another election.
A stand against what? Where the hell did this op-ed go?
Well, I'm sure she'll complain about News in Brief:
Male Urinates on Car Wash Employee
Male Hit on Head With Rock in People’s Park
Male Assaulted With Deadly Weapon
Man Arrested on Suspicion Of Public Masturbation
First Female UC Provost Awarded for Excellence
Which one of these doesn't belong? OMGzors, where is the female representation in crime-commission? Until women start committing more crimes, I will continue to question the motives of Jerry Hunterson. Whoever that is.
. . .
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Vote! Vote! VOTE, Dammit!
Chancellor Bob (the new one) sent an e-mail to "The Campus Community" reminding us to VOTE!!!!!!!! Or, more specifically, register before the deadline. How annoying. Stop bugging us. We'll vote whenever we damn well want to vote. I was planning on voting this election, but I'm tempted not to, just to spite all those "REGISTER TO VOTEEEEE!!!111ONe" folks on campus. (Hey, it's not a "DETOUR TO VOTE" if you put it right in our way.)
Dear Cal Community,
I write to you today to urge you to register this week to vote in the November 2, 2004 Election. This election will not only decide who the next President of the United States will be, but it will also decide who will represent you in Congress, in the California State Legislature, and on the City of Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board. This election will provide you, as students and as citizens, with the opportunity to make your voices heard on a number of local and statewide issues, including Tribal Gaming, Criminal Justice, and HealthCare.
It is vital that your representatives in government know that, as students at a public institution of Higher Education, you care about the policies they adopt in government and how those policies affect your lives.
I'll add that this election includes mountains of propositions and measures and referenda and the like because the California legislature is too lazy or too cowardly to do their job and legislate. And, of course, while the election will (help) decide who our president will be, Cal voters won't.
Vote NO on registering to vote.
. . .
It's all about freedom. Today, we have Friscans bitching about their loss of freedom to honk their loud-ass car horns without road-related cause.
"I understand people are trying to do their jobs in this area, but the motorists are just trying to show support to us. They are giving citations for that? I don't understand,'' [Harris Harada said].
I do. Whatever the cause, they're still a public nuisance. That's what they're being given citations for.
"I'm just shocked -- it feels like my rights were being violated,'' [Laurie Muschel] said. "It just seemed like a tactic to dissuade people from supporting the strikers. I was not going by laying on my horn. It was just two little short beeps.''
It's a tactic to dissuade people from making publicly damaging noise, actually. But hey, whatever you want to believe.
. . .
Disclaimer: I think Moore is an asshole, independent of his politics
Will Harper's Bottom Feeder in the EBX has an interesting story about, well, Moore:
It looks like Peralta Community College District will have to scrap its plan to run Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 on its public-access cable channel prior to the election. According to district propagandist Jeffrey Heyman, the movie's distributor, Lion's Gate Films, won't let Peralta air the anti-Bush feature for fear of jeopardizing a $15 million cable deal. This struck Heyman as odd since Moore had just sent out an e-mail exhorting his followers to buy or rent the DVD and show it to as many people as possible. "Nothing would make me happier than to have you share it with everyone you know," Moore wrote in his October 5 missive. "All surveys have shown that, the more people who see it -- especially those still sitting on the fence -- the more likely we will have regime change come November 2nd."
Heyman says when he called the distributor, Lion's Gate rep John Ferro told him, "Fuck Michael, he doesn't own the rights anymore." Heyman calls the snub the "ultimate in hypocrisy," given Moore's call to spread the word however possible. "Isn't this just what the Peralta Colleges are doing by showing the film on its public cable station?" he said in an e-mail.
Let me make sure I'm reading Heyman's statement right. One person said "distribute this film widely." Some other guy, who actually had rights to the film, said "No, don't distribute this film in a manner which might hurt us." Heyman concludes that this is hypocrisy, because the statements of two different people contradict each other.
. . .
“I want both candidates to tell us what they really believe, as opposed to what they think will get them the most votes,” said freshman Jeff Bauer.
Sorry, dude. You live in a democracy.
“I think Bush is doing well in the debates,” said senior Amina Ahmad. “He’s made a lot of room for improvement.”
If that's a joke, that's a good one. If it's not, that's some crappy wording. You make improvement, and you have room for it. You don't make room for improvement, except by sucking at the start (which is why I said, if it was a joke it was a good one).
While Moses Library housed a sometimes-rowdy crowd of 100 pro-Kerry Berkeley residents and students, the Berkeley College Republicans hosted their own screening blocks away at Kip’s Restaurant and Bar for 50 students, including a sprinkling of Democrats.
At Kip’s, the Berkeley College of Republicans enthusiastically applauded Bush’s sentiments while cracking jokes at Kerry’s responses.
On the other side of the political divide and a few blocks away at Kip’s Restaurant and Bar, the Berkeley College of Republicans hosted 50 students, most of whom enthusiastically applauded Bush’s sentiments while cracking jokes at Kerry’s responses and a sprinkling of Democrats.
. . .
Haha! American Cultures suck!
Good news! The university realized how utterly stupid the AC requirement is and want to relax it so maybe a class about cultures instead of a class about "White people suck" would qualify.
“We want to give students as many choices as possible,” [Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Christina] Maslach said. “We don’t want the sense that they were forced to take any class.”
Note that she says that "we," the administration, doesn't want the sense that "they," the students, were forced to take any class. It doesn't really matter to them that students are forced to take any class, they just don't want the sense that it's the case.
Assuming it was a slipup isn't much better. As long as there's an AC requirement, students are going to be forced to take a class. That's the nature of "requirements." Making the list of possible classes longer doesn't change that.
“Some faculty in the sciences may feel that science is ‘value free’ and exists apart from social contexts,” [Chair of the AC Subcommittee Jeff] Romm said. “But we need to look at the consequences technology and science have within society.”
Which faculty? I want to see his list. I'm sure certain science faculty members would, too. Or is ESPM the department of broad generalizations convenient to "the cause."
I was not too keen on hearing people whine, and I wanted to actually learn something with my AC requirement, so, as a young and bright-eyed freshman or sophomore (I don't recall which), I saw "Hmm, History 7B. Maybe I'll learn something about recent American history, since I didn't learn anything in high school since my history teacher taught out of Zinn's A People's History of the United States." Oh, man, was I an idiot. It turned out to be History 7B with Professor Litwack. I still don't know what's happened in America since the civil war.
. . .
Woo! I've never seen this column before
A column. About: Gee, it sucks that people talk loudly on cell phones. Yeah, nice one, Tejas. Very original. Never seen a column that covers that topic before.
So what’s the solution?... One thing, though, is certain: this problem will have to be solved by citizens, not by governments. We can’t rely on the laws to tell us how to use our cell phones on BART, but we can expect people to impose social norms making it inappropriate to yap obnoxiously.
Sounds good. Scroll up a paragraph.
To one who believes strongly in the merits of social capital, the collective disgust of a group of individuals ought to be enough to motivate change. It hasn’t been.
To summarize. "The following solution hasn't worked. The solution? Exactly the same solution that hasn't worked."
. . .
Instead of donating the usual bench or fountain to UC Berkeley, the class of 1968 is hoping to leave a more personal mark on campus—launching a campaign to raise between $500,000 and $1 million to develop a Center for Social and Political Civility.
Haha! "Center for Social and Political Civility." I love these names. Especially a center for civility in Berkeley.
The work of the center will focus on “ways to build a society based on civil liberties, fairness, and democratic participation by people of diverse personal backgrounds and political orientations,” according to the center’s mission statement.
Civil liberties and civility are so not compatible. Neither are democratic participation and civility. Nor, in fact, democratic participation and fairness. Nor even fairness and civil liberties. But hey, go for it, guys.
. . .
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Sticks and stones...
Brendan mentions his efforts to "counteract the rhetorical trends of our current political discourse." It raises the question, though, of whether replacing terms with those more favorable to you is a legitimate rhetorical effort. The most interesting example is that of "Pro-Choice" instead of "Pro-Abortion."
While the term "Anti-Abortion" is a fairly good term in describing the opinion of the anti-abortion crowd (they oppose abortion), "Pro-Abortion" certainly has its shortcomings. Supporters are not necessarily in favor of abortion, but rather are in favor of a woman's ability to get one. Hence the alternative of "Pro-Choice." But then, "Pro-Choice" is just as tilted, if not moreso, because it's really "Pro Choice in this one issue and anti choice in any issue which contradicts this one and indifferent towards any other issue."
To say that you're somehow "fighting trends" by trying to insert trends that favor you doesn't hold a great deal of truth value. The argument that such efforts are tactically sound is legitimate, but given such an opinion, there's no room left to complain about the other side screwing around with words to tilt perception. And any good political commentator knows that you always need to leave room to complain.
. . .
Does anyone else see the humor in a U.S. Senator's chief of staff complaining about pandering?
. . .
Andy'll see this one coming
Are college students seriously trying to get flu shots, still? Are those people so seriously afraid of the flu that they're willing to take vaccines which could, conceivably, be used for people who actually have a reason to be afraid of the flu? Let's put aside the details that the flu vaccine isn't all that effective, and that it frequently gives shotees flu-like symptoms (which are the only inconveniences to college students anyway). You people are nuts.
“It went through my whole swim team,” said freshman Emily Silver. “It’s not really fair. If there are cutbacks, you need to look at who is really at risk first, but in this case, it sucks for everyone else.”
Yep. File suit against the flu for acting in an unfair manner.
. . .
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Calstuff gets a lot of shit for not being Kevin Deenihan's Calstuff. It's reminiscent of band popularity. "You're not as good older bands because I liked them first," essentially. And while I agree that Calstuff is not the source for unreported news it was under KED, it fascinates me that people actually go to Calstuff's comment section and complain "Oh, damn, this blog sucks because it doesn't do stuff I want it to do." Here are some quick notes about Calstuff:
1) Kevin is no longer writing Calstuff. If you want to read Kevin's Calstuff, you're not going to find it at calstuff.blogspot.com.
2) Other people are writing Calstuff. It's not the same Calstuff. When you visit calstuff.blogspot.com, you are visiting "other people"'s blog. It's different, and fills a different role.
3) Most computers and internet browsers come with the option of not visiting websites you don't want to visit. Calstuff is one of these websites that you can "not visit anymore" if it no longer interests you.
4) If you really, really want to see the kind of work Kevin did, do it yourself.
. . .
In the same vein
Run! It's a Daily Cal Editorial!
There's something strangely disconcerting about this editorial, talking about how Person X shouldn't have acted in Manner Y, and justifying the argument in the name of freedom.
While I agree that it's too bad Howard Dean couldn't stay on topic, and probably deserves a swift kick to the crotch for breaking his agreements...
Although the Free Speech Movement has gained a reputation as a leftist movement, it is more of a forum for the exchange of all ideas—be they popular or extreme, liberal, conservative or anarchist. Dean did not embody this kind of free exchange in his speech; indeed, he may have marginalized event attendees who hold differing political views from those he espoused.
I hear a lot about marginalizing. People get marginalized when other people say things they disagree with. I guess. I don't really know how much sense that makes.
While many people in the campus community may dislike the policies of the current administration, last week’s Free Speech events were intended to celebrate freedom of expression for everyone, not only those with whom we agree.
Er... you mean those you disagree with as to what constitutes an acceptable speech? It's likely that The Daily Cal is only raising the issue because Rossman and his ilk have complained. Without his complaints, or with identical complaints from a different group (e.g. BCR), we would almost certainly have read a glowing review of Howard Dean's invigorating (I assume) speech.
. . .
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Saturday story about the Free Speech Movement’s 40th anniversary commemoration includes a significant mistake. In a picture captioned, “Former presidential candidate Howard Dean is surrounded by well-wishers after his speech,” I am shown hugging Dean and whispering in his ear. I was actually saying, “You sure are a selfish, egocentric, self-centered S.O.B.!” My remark was justified, because Dean completely violated advance agreements about his speech.
Dean was scheduled to speak for 10 minutes and was required by campus rules to be non-partisan in his appeal for students to vote. Instead, he spoke for 23 minutes and delivered a passionate pitch for Kerry against Bush. By doing so, Dean eclipsed the rest of our program, and turned a commemoration of the FSM into an episode of self-promotion and partisan politics.
Free Speech Movement event coordinator
Two questions. First, why wasn't this sent to the SF Chron? (Maybe it was, and just wasn't published) Second, is it really suprising that Howard Dean is a "selfish, egocentric, self-centered S.O.B."? He ran for president. It seems all of those things are implied.
That said, saying such a thing to someone is rude as hell. There are more appropriate ways to express discontent with another's actions. This method just makes Rossman seem like an ass and makes his opinion that much more irrelevant to Dean.
That said, Howard Dean would also be a total ass for breaking his agreement with organizers. Here's the picture, by the way.
. . .
Monday, October 11, 2004
From the 'duh' department
Says Katie Conry:
“I think it’s ridiculous that the police put so much money into stopping underage kids from drinking because it’s kind of a pretty accepted thing that goes on at this campus.”
Yeah. That's why they're putting an effort into trying to stop it. If it wasn't a pretty accepted thing, they probably wouldn't bother.
. . .
Which right wing is this?
Says some boring legislator:
California Assemblymember and movement activist Jackie Goldberg, D-Los Angeles, urged students to resist apathy and become more politically active.
“The right wing is trying to create a mythology that we were better organizers, more politically active than you are—and that is hogwash,” she said.
Umm... umm... umm... I'm pretty right-wing myself, and I don't recall that one. In fact, considering that it's a liberal complaining about apathy, you would think the theory that "those old guys" were more politically active than we are belongs to the left-wing. Anyway, I'll be happy to resist apathy when you give me something worth caring about.
“There was another lesson that arose from this place 40 years ago. And that is ordinary people can make an enormous difference—the only thing that holds you back is you believe you can’t,” [Howard Dean] said to the energized crowd.
Why, you can become president, if you really want to.
“I’ve seen pictures of rallies from the ‘60s,” Leybovich said. “And being here, you wouldn’t be able to differentiate one picture from the other.”
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Also in the funny letters dept
Editor -- Artist Maria Alquilar created a mural for Livermore's new library in which 11 of 175 well-known names are misspelled, including "Eistein" and "Van Gough."
Rather than accept any blame or offer any apology, Alquilar responded that "the people are into humanities and are into (William) Blake's concept of enlightenment -- they are not looking at the words. In their mind, the words register correctly."
The City Council, having already spent $40,000 on the project, voted to spend $6,000 more -- plus expenses -- to fly Alquilar back from Florida to fix it.
I think the City Council has available a simple solution to save precious money: Upon completion of the work, issue a check for $6, not $6,000. In my mind, the numbers register correctly.
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Orwell called, he wants royalties
The Daily Bruin has an exciting letter about that guy who did the not-vandalism, not-burglary, but interference-with-the-exercise-of-civil-rights.
The actions proposed by the Queer Alliance (Nov. 5) for the student alleged to have attacked the Lesbian, Gay, Bixeual, Transgender Campus Resource Center is to discard him from the learning community.
This attitude is an example of the failure of the academic community and of the community at large.
It is in society's best interest to re-educate the suspect, keeping him within the academic community.
Sending him to be prosecuted is hardly the re-education that serves the interests of society – and if the university is incapable of understanding this, it needs a radical reconstitution.
Fascinating! She didn't even bother to use subtle word choice.
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Saturday, October 09, 2004
Yesterday, I mentioned stuffing online polls to give your candidate a win. I still think it's really really pathetic.
Anyway, the CNN online poll went from 9% for Bush and 90% for Kerry when I first looked at it, to 44% for Bush and 53% for Kerry when I'm posting this. Fascinating.
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Friday, October 08, 2004
Final thoughts on the debate
I "hosted" the debate at my apartment, and thought I might throw in some final thoughts.
Victor: Bush, sort of. As far as issues go, none of what either candidate said really matters at all or is any reflection of reality, so trying to call a debate based on issues is silly. Instead, I'll do what most people did for the first debate, and call it based on style, confidence, etc. Bush started out strong and trampled right over Kerry, but he ran out of juice as the end drew near. Still, Kerry didn't pull out anything impressive when Bush flaphooeyd out, so Bush gets the win.
Online Polls: Of course, online polls all show a HUGE win for Kerry, because various liberalish bloggers and their groupies pride themselves on stuffing online poll boxes. Yeah, I don't know why, either. Maybe someone will be convinced by the numbers that "Gee, I guess Kerry won after all."
Format: Pace. Pace. Gesticulate. Pace. Point. Pace. Pace. Gesticulate. Sit. I loved how they referred to each other in the third person while talking at each other (it was in the rules, I'm sure).
Facial Expressions: Bush was trying real hard not to make facial expressions. He looked like a little boy pretending to look interested for his elementary school teacher. Kerry had a smug grin for all of Bush's speeches, but it looks good on Kerry.
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I didn't watch the first one. Bush looks to be holding his own. I've barely even noticed that Kerry has been talking.
Bush sucks with pronouns.
Kerry talks to Bush. Bush talks to the audience. I think Kerry is trying to provoke Bush, now.
Bush just walks right over the moderator.
Update 1: Geez, these illions are confusing. Trillions, billions, millions... the candidates are stressing their illions as if they're large numbers... but in the world of federal spending, all these illions don't mean anything.
Update 2: Kerry had some 10 or 15 "uh"s and "um"s before he could come up with "paraplegic." I wonder how it'll go into the transcript.
Update 3: I think Bush is out of gas, with 15 minutes to go.
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Andrew F. Adams gets an F for effectiveness. He continues running his presidential ads in The Daily Cal, apparently without noting that the Cal in Daily Cal stands for Californian. Okay, you convinced us to vote Kerry. Yay! Please note the complete lack of election effect.
Some Welsh guy compares the Bush presidency to Hitler's reign. Unfortunately, he writes a contradiction in himself, by writing of Hitler and, presumably, of Bush, "He was criticized heavily abroad, but his nation did not feel particularly fond of the opinions of foreigners anyway." Dude, you're Welsh. If what you say is true, we're not going to care.
We know that the world was unwilling to watch one nation after another be invaded and fall to him, and declared war on him.
Too bad the world forgot Poland.
And, of course, two crazy editorials. The first, on shirts, says "And if the university does not allow the shirts to be sold on campus, they will be distributed through other means." So what's the problem? The shirts are distributed, yet the university is in the clear.
The second, on muslim questioning by the FBI, says:
We are not attempting to dictate how the FBI should operate, but the bureau should find other less threatening ways to understand the religion, not blindly associate local followers with terrorism. It is this kind of ignorance that breeds hatred.
Well, if people answered the FBI's questions, wouldn't that decrease the FBI's ignorance? To almost quote some Simpsons episode from some time: "That's how you learn things. You ask."
I am not attempting to dictate how The Daily Cal does its editorials, but it should do as I say.
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The machine built my platform
There was no climbing-on-top-of-police-carism by the speakers of today's Noon Sproul Rally. They built a platform, a ramp, and even railings on top of the car. Speakers would then walk onto the car from the elevated stage. Even I was disappointed, and I didn't care at all. Anyway, I only stopped by around noon, I wasn't about to stick around to hear the Chancellor speak again.
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Thursday, October 07, 2004
Propositions 60 and 62
Wooo! Interesting ones! Props 60 and 62 look towards our primary election process. Currently, each party has a primary, and the winner of each primary goes on to the general election. Prop 60 wants to make this procedure a part of the constitution, and was specifically introduced to combat prop 62. Prop 62 wants to take partisanship out of the primary process, and make it so that the general election is between the two top vote-getters of a non-partisan primary election.
If both propositions pass, the one with the most yes votes becomes part of the constitution.
Beetle the Ideological Voter feels that partisanship should have no official place in the election process. The primaries were originally internal elections for individual parties to determine their candidates, but now that the primaries are official state elections, continuing to apply partisanship to them is inappropriate. Ideally, we would de-officialize the primary process, but that is not an option at the moment. YES on 62, NO on 60.
Beetle the Pragmatic Voter recognizes that the outcomes of the elections are unlikely to change greatly under 62. If a Democrat would win under the current scheme, it seems highly unlikely for a Republican to win under the new scheme, and vice versa. However, making the primary nonpartisan means that parties will have to act on their own to decide which of their candidates they'll back. This could easily mean yet another election at an even earlier date to fill the role that the primary used to fill. Elections are costly. NO on 62. Passage of prop 60 will make it harder to change things in the future, and change is almost always bad and/or costly. YES on 60.
Beetle the Entertainer again sees a short-term and long-term issue. Current strategical shenanigannery can be humorous, but the fun would be multiplied hugely in a non-partisan primary, where you'll see various vote-dividing schemes, attempts to block out the other party by getting two of your own party in the top two slots (which takes careful coordination), and liberal use of "spoiler" complaints. This may, however, put a damper on the general election fun, as we will no longer see the green party candidate for governor used as a bargaining chip by the Republicans like we did last time. However, the entertainment value of seeing Californians show their idiotic cheerleading for the porposition process and pass two competing propositions is too much to pass up. Therefore, YES on 60, YES on 62.
Beetle the Bitter Foe of All Humanity also sees the prospects of strategical shenanigannery and recognizes that hateful bickering will emerge between members of the same party. As the stakes become lower, the dirty tricks will become more vicious. YES on 62, NO on 60.
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“These are issues that people put their lives on the line for, and I hope that’s clear in the (agreement), and we should remember that and carry that legacy,” [ ASUC Senator Lakshmi] Sridaran said. “I think the center should keep that in mind always.” (emphasis mine)
From The Daily Cal, on people whining for a multicultural center.
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Stop profiling me!
Dear Random Al-Muslim,
Have you ever wondered why people don't trust you to the point that they suspect you of being supportive of terrorists? Here's your answer.
Muslims have reported feeling too frightened to come forward with information because of a perceived prevalent stigma, even in government offices, that Islam is a terrorist religion.
Perhaps if you were more willing to come forward with information, people wouldn't suspect you of supporting terrorists by refusing to tell the government things. Do you think stigma is enhanced or reduced by your saying "I won't tell you anything!!!"?
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Pay attention, now
While it is important to reflect on the victories we’ve won for the Bill of Rights, it is equally important to be aware of—and fight against—abuses of these civil rights, including the constant attacks to the unabridged right of freedom of press.
We must demand from our journalists reporting with insight instead of reporting meant to incite.
These two issues are either:
a) unrelated, in the sense that the government isn't crapping on the press's right to print whatever they want to, or
b) contradictory, in the sense of "unabridged right of freedom" and "we must demand" they do something we want them to do not being too compatible.
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Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Two debates left
So the organizers don't feel bad, I'm going have my mind changed by the upcoming presidential debates. Both of them.
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Not that it's suprising
Number 13 (last place) search for pro-racism websites? Right here.
Of course, searching for "pro-racism websites" is only going to get those websites which talk about pro-racism websites, rather than finding pro-racism websites. With this obvious exception.
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Here's a boring one. Prop 59 says some stuff about increasing public access to government records. It's one of those "everyone supports it" measures, as the "Con" argument provided by the Secretary of State is of the "it doesn't go far enough" type. Still, in the interest of completeness:
Beetle the Idealistic Voter supports increased public access to records, because otherwise, the government isn't accountable or something. YES.
Beetle the Pragmatic Voter opposes the mild increase in cost for the state, but hopes that public scrutiny will tie up government processes and prevent the state from doing things. Anytime the government doesn't do something, BPV wins. YES.
Beetle the Entertainer is disappointed at the presence of a ballot initiative which does not ignite exciting controversy, but will not go so far as to vote against prop 59 out of spite. Instead, BE hopes that increased public access to records will create scandals of various proportions. YES
Beetle the Bitter Foe of All Humanity sees the broad, almost unanimous support for this proposition, and makes the obvious endorsement: NO.
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Are you sure this is the same reality?
Absolute wow. Andro Hsu is a "scientist." This is shocking to me because his columns display no scientific skepticism of his assumptions.
Families in agriculture-based developing nations value a large family, both for labor and retirement insurance. It seems only natural for financially well-endowed parents to want the best for—or out of—their brood, including paying $25,000 for an Ivy League woman’s eggs.
But poor parents just don't care about their kids. No love involved for anyone. Yeah, okay.
Education as commodity production is now government policy. President Bush’s No Child Left Behind program mandates increased testing in public schools. This amounts to a quality-control regime to ensure that students can at least parrot a minimum number of facts before being spit out into the world, assembly-line fashion. We can’t or won’t spend money on more teachers to cultivate students’ full potentials as human beings— instead, we stamp them out with a cookie cutter.
Teachers do not cultivate students' full potentials as human beings. Students do. Hand-holding with special teachers only puts a damper on our humanity. Telling a kid "here's what you have to do, now deal with it" lets her build her own identity.
For example, a fellow graduate student instructor told me of an attractive young student who approached him in office hours during finals. Pouting and doe-eyed, she pleaded, “I’d do anything for an A.” To which the GSI responded, “Anything? Really? Even ... study?"
Umm... dude, that joke is old. Very old. It wasn't "a fellow graduate student instructor" involved.
But I guess there's no suprise. The study of science is EngineeringLite.
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Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Check out that smile
Oh, irony. Blah blah guy arrested for throwing brick through window of UCLA LGBT Resource Center. Vandalism and burglary, obviously. But that's not what he's charged with. "Grosfield was charged with the interference of the exercise of civil rights, a felony, and is being held on $50,000 bail." Umm... What exactly is a civil right? Isn't it, by definition, not something that a private person can interfere with? Well, whatever. That's not the funny.
Here's the funny.
Immediately after the attacks, Chancellor Albert Carnesale met with Sanlo and other campus officials and issued a statement outlining the campus' zero tolerance policy in cases of hate crimes.
If Grosfield is convicted of this crime and property damage, the Queer Alliance feels the appropriate course of action includes nothing less than full dismissal from this university. We feel this is in accord with Chancellor Albert Carnesale's zero tolerance policy on hate crimes as well.
Remember the hoopla about Berdahl's zero tolerance policy on protests which was outlined shortly before the crime? Naturally, the same forces on a different campus would stand up and.... uh....
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There has to be a certain humiliation in finding that the first result for a Google search on your name is Beetle Beat. Chelsea Collonge, for instance, faces this shame. After her quote, "I can’t even imagine walking for an hour, much less five days," I couldn't resist, so apparently a search for her name puts my blog on top, even before the Daily Cal story I was quoting. Who knows why.
Anyway, thanks for playing!
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I love Dick?
So, I'm watching the Veep debate right now. Edwards is the more speaker-like speaker. That may work against him, though. He just sounds like some guy who thinks he's better than you. Dick seems a lot more human, and almost bored. Still, Dick sucks on the defensive. That's a five minute conclusion.
Update: Edwards doesn't stay on topic very well.
Update 2: Neither does Dick. They're in the process of responding to each other in their speeeches for the following questions which aren't all that related.
Update 3: Edwards does repeat himself. A lot. Talking points, shmalking points. Dick insists that the record speaks for itself. He should bring it in to debate in his place, so he can do something better with his time. These debates need to be conducted drunk and/or high, while a football game is playing in the background, with chips and salsa on the table. Then maybe something interesting would happen.
Update 4: Oh, gotta' love Edwards's thumb-pointing. He's losing his temper. Dick is having a hell of a time defending the gay marriage issue when he doesn't support the position.
Update 5: The moderator looks like she's getting pissed off at Dick for him starting every speech with "Gwen, (pause)..."
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Propostions 1A and 65
Propositions 1A and 65 have to do with how easily the state government can raid city and county governments for money. Note that proposition 65 is on the ballot as a technicality, but has no official proponents, as they have made a deal with the governor to support proposition 1A instead.
The punchline is that by passing 1A, it takes more effort (2/3 of both houses, governor approval) for the state government to shift money around at the local government level. While the proponents insist that this will not increase taxes by arguing that local taxes are set at a fixed level, it seems pretty clear to me that making local tax money less accessible to the state will force the state government to either increase taxes or cut back on programs whenever a fiscal difficulty arises. The opponents whine about accountability or something, as if the state does a better job or something.
Unsupported prop 65 goes further and forces any change to be passed by a voter initiative. Like this one. "Do you want money to go from the friendly, cuddly local level to the evil, menacing state level?"
Beetle the Idealistic Voter feels that the threat of raised taxes is not outweighed by the nominal benefit gained by the proposition. He feels that there is no reason to believe that local governments are better able to decide what to do with money than the state government, and local governments also act individually and without proper regard for statewide issues that will arise. Further, he considers the compromise made to generate 1A to be a legitimate reason to abandon any consideration for 65. Therefore, BIV endorses NO for both propositions 1A and 65.
Beetle the Pragmatic Voter shares BIV's concern for increased taxes, and also adds the concern of being subject to what passes for a local government here in Berkeley. The day BPV trusts the Berkeley government to do something useful with his money is the day that something very, very unlikely occurs. BPV also endorses NO for both propositions 1A and 65.
Beetle the Entertainer knows that local government antics are often far more interesting than statewide government antics. However, access to funds for the local government will make them more able to accomodate everyone's wishes, which will lead to a disappointing decrease in the creative whining the various interested parties in Berkeley will engage in. Therefore, BE endoreses NO for proposition 1A. However, BE feels that these disadvantages are outweighed by the short-term entertainment of California passing a proposition that has been abandoned, and the long-term entertainment of even more voter initiatives to make minor adjustments to local spending at the statewide level. Thus, BE endorses YES for proposition 65.
Beetle the Bitter Foe of All Humanity knows that local government efforts are often helpful for the disadvantaged at a more human level, while state government efforts can be woefully inadequate in this regard. BBFAH opposes any plan which may lead to better resources being available for people in difficult positions, and rejecting these propositions make it easier to doom these people to a lifetime of pain and suffering. As a result, BBFAH endorses NO for both propositions 1A and 65.
Whew, that's two propositions down and... holy crap, fourteen to go! It's going to be a long few weeks. Can't we just elect representatives to do this job for us?
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