Friday, April 29, 2005
Go go gadget Autonomy
The GA is taking its autonomy fight to the chancellor! Finally! Here's Rishi's rationale:
"We've proven ourselves a responsible and responsive government, and we run a good show."
Well, I've no argument about their show being entertaining, but since whenever the GA doesn't get its way it tries to totally destroy whoever interfered, I dunno how "responsible and responsive" we can call it.
"We're supposed to represent the interests of 9,000 students, but nine undergrads have veto power over all of us."
Uh... welcome to representative government? Have any grad students ever even tried to get on the Judicial Council? I'm sure they're allowed. And if Rishi (and Jon, according to the East Bay Express) will throw a fit everytime someone younger than him decides something for him, he's going to have one crappy life when he gets actually old.
Yet, just like most GA autonomy attempts, this one is yet another "autonomy but..." attempt.
The assembly's new plan calls for political independence from the ASUC, as opposed to severing ties completely. The ASUC Auxiliary, which oversees ASUC finances, would keep assembly oversight.
"We're not seceding, we just want to break up the part of ASUC government that keeps crossing over to the GA," Sharma said.
Sharma said officials are concerned that without the annual financial contribution from the ASUC, the new government could go bankrupt."
But they're so responsible... Essentially, they want to keep all the money, they just don't want to be subject to the rules anymore. What a strong bid for autonomy.
. . .
I can whine higher!
"Teach-in Questions U.S. Methods in Terror War." I was disappointed that this story on the "Teach-in on Torture" did not contain details on how the U.S. can more effectively torture its prisoners. That's just false advertising. And, as is the case with any good panel discussion, it looks like all panelists completely agreed.
. . .
Tired of spiders? Get a web-free Daily Cal whine, right here!
We start with a guest column from Kent Nguyen, whining about people who whine about how there aren't any hot girls here. While I agree with his whine, I find some of his arguments to be... uh...
There are so many girls at UC Berkeley that - in addition to being pretty - are outgoing, honest, intelligent and goal-oriented, which adds up to being hella hot.
Goal-oriented? The problem with dating goal-oriented chicks is that dudes are rarely one of their goals.
. . .
Gov'nor endorses Minutemen!!!
Of course, this requires a fit:
"It is illegal to interfere with law enforcement, and if the governor is promoting that, then maybe we should think of bringing action against him," said Art Torres, state Democratic Party chairman. "When he took an oath of office to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States, that includes all of its laws. And when the president of the United States and the Border Patrol both suggest that these activities are not only not helpful, but possibly illegal, that needs to be seriously examined."
My God! Even the president opposes it! If the president opposes it, it must be stopped! Wait... the Democratic Party Chairman said that?
. . .
I win the internet!
An opt-in policy for military recruitment. I've mentioned before how silly such a policy is. Opting into recruitment is like scheduling a walk-in appointment in ways that I don't care to elaborate.
Coplan added that he thought Berkeley's system was "a better use of time for the military recruiters themselves. It means they don't have to waste their time with students who don't want to be contacted."
Actually, they don't have to waste their time with students whose parents don't want to be contacted. Since the whole thing is whining about how parents are too inattentive to opt-out, you might wonder why no one raises the issue of parents who are too inattentive to opt-in. Aren't their rights being trampled? After all, you can always say "NO" to a military recruiter, but you can't say "YES" if no one asks. If your kids are too stupid to say no to military recruitment when it's bad for them, the military is probably the best choice they have.
. . .
Thursday, April 28, 2005
A way with words
On that bridge thingie:
"We're going to get a measly $200,000 for this and we're going to be sued," Olds told the council at Tuesday's meeting. "I can't believe what a bunch of namby-pambies you all are to think it doesn't matter. It defies description."
. . .
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
In the annual bitchathon about who the graduation speaker is, this time we've got political theorist Benjamin Barber.
Barber, a professor at University of Maryland, is best known for his book "Jihad vs. McWorld," a groundbreaking analysis of ethnic nationalism against global consumerism.
*sigh*. It's amazing what passes for groundbreaking these days. Especially when such groundbreaking work it can't be described accurately by a newspaper. It's an analysis of A against B? What does that even mean? Isn't it an analysis of the conflict between A and B?
"Most seniors are trying to figure out who he is," said Camille Llanes, president of the Californians, the student arm of the California Alumni Association, which selected Barber. "But when I tell them he's a political theorist they get pretty excited."
President of the Californians! I thought it was Arnie. Anyway, the seniors Camille has been talking to must be pretty fucking insane. They were excited that he was a political theorist? What is a "political theorist"? Is it any different from "professional whiner"?
. . .
Crime in Brief
Finally, some crime reports in News in Brief. One shoplifter got his ass kicked by some store employees over baby formula. Wait, baby formula?
Employees phoned police and held Tsegaye until officers arrived.
Police arrested Tsegay and returned the baby formula to the shelf.
Are the police really qualified to restock shoplifted goods? And why is Tsegaye's name spelled two different ways?
And remember: It's not a battle if nobody dies. Seriously, let's see some guitar-on-skull action if you want to advertise a battle of bands.
. . .
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Does anyone even know what the First amendment says?
Letters whining about how students' first ammendment rights were violated when they were protesting military recruiters on campus. Amber Wise:
The disturbing components I'd like to address are: the excessive police force, barricades, backpack searching, ID scanning and videotaping of the crowd that occurred before, during and after the rally.
This does NOT make me feel welcome to express my opinions. In fact, it is intimidation by the university administration meant to squelch students' voices.
Eh... it's not part of free speech for everyone to make an effort to make you feel welcome to express your opinions. Just because you don't have the balls to state your opinion in front of a camera (which I would think is the point, anyway), that's not a violation of your free speech rights.
I have many friends who think similarly but who would never participate in such an event specifically because of the surveillance, intimidation and utter absurdity that occurred.
Yeah, God forbid you say things when people are paying attention.
I suppose you could consider me naive to think that I would be allowed to exercise my right to freedom of speech on a college campus without being intimidated by a police presence and video surveillance.
Which right is that? I can't recall any "without such and such" phrases being tagged onto free speech rights.
By increasing police presence and videotaping protesters at Thursday's career fair the administration is sending the message that these types of events will not be tolerated on campus.
Uh, well, actually it is sending the message that "Sure, these events will be tolerated, but don't break the law, because that won't be tolerated." And if you feel stifled because the government won't tolerate you breaking the law... uh...
Finally, Carol Harris is bitching about being fined for honking her horn for no traffic reason.
An Oakland woman who received a ticket for honking her horn has filed a complaint against Berkeley police, arguing that her First Amendment rights were violated.
Oooh, First Amendment. So, here's my quick intro to the First Amendment's free speech rights:
The point of the amendment is to ensure that people will not be restricted from expressing certain unpopular opinions. It doesn't say that any form of expression is legal. So, while you can opine that "murder is supercool!" you can't actually go about murdering people in conjunction and claiming free speech rights.
Similarly, even if you support protesters, or oppose protesters, or like candy, blowing your horn at night without a traffic reason is still illegal. Having an opinion attached to illegal behavior doesn't suddenly make that behavior legal.
"I had time to observe what they were doing," Harris said in her statement. "And since I am a contract worker and am in that same position ... I could empathize with their cause."
If only she could emphasize with the cause of people trying to just get some fucking sleep.
. . .
Some crazy foreign mayor was the best dude in the world! And this deserves a Daily Cal op-ed.
Also, Peter Gee has some whining to do. (shocking) Not enough race!
To be perfectly honest, I am pleasantly surprised at Chancellor Robert Birgeneau.
You can feel how painful it was for him to say something good about the administration.
At every single budgeting cycle, we have to go back to the Senate and validate our existence. Without a doubt, various ASUC Senators will try to make last-minute cuts to our budgets on top of the cuts we have already received and we have to pack the room for the whole night to argue about the importance of the work we do.
He forgot to add "just like everybody else."
In Mario Savio's famous speech before the FSM Sit-in he said, "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 you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!" This quote gives us a great metaphor for UC Berkeley, about how it's just a giant machine that needs to be fixed.
I don't think Peter's interpreting it right. I don't think he was saying "let's fix the machine," he was saying "let's stop the machine." Basically, the machine had to be destroyed by preventing it from working at all. It's sort of one of those "OMG Mario Savio was sooooo great, so if I quote him, I'll totally be seen as right" quotes.
. . .
New Voice Heard!
Wow! It's Andrew F. Adams. Does anyone want to guess what his topic is?
Bush bad? No way! Unheard of!
You probably already know about opening up the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, but you may not know that we won’t see any of that oil for 10 years. So instead of getting a much-needed drop in prices now, you will have to wait until 2015 to see one drop of that gas.
OMGZORS!!!! No instantaneous infrastructure!!! What's up with that!!! Using this standard, we can never engage in a plan which will help us only 10 years down the road. Which makes one wonder why Mr. Adams seems to support renewable energy development.
One provision creates complete immunity from cleanup costs for all makers of MTBE, an additive to gasoline. Apparently, the makers knew that it could leak into groundwater and caused cancer in studies but did nothing to stop it. And now, under the Energy Bill, they will not have to pay any for any of the cleanup for their underground tanks, and will actually be paid $1.75 billion to cover transition costs as MTBE is phased out by 2014.
I wonder if he remembers why they started adding MTBE in the first place.
. . .
It'd be nice if the Daily Cal published about the same amount of news every day. As it stands now, though, I have a hell of a lot to do today.
On condo conversions, Jesse Arreguin doesn't think it'll suit his social engineering goals.
"I don't think 10 percent is a reasonable amount," said Jesse Arreguin, a commissioner on the Rent Stabilization Board. "That doesn't reflect the cost of developing affordable units, it reflects the city's cost of helping to develop affordable units."
Somehow, this election season appeared "cordial" to The Daily Cal, Which is really only true for the candidates.
. . .
Monday, April 25, 2005
Unsafe vaccines were given out... 50 years ago. Thanks, Chron!
. . .
I guess you didn't get the memo
From the Bruin, the first paragraph says it all:
The story in the Daily Bruin sports section on April 13 titled "Fighting an image" contains a glaring flaw concerning U.S. women's soccer player Cat Reddick. As her boyfriend of 4.5 years, I can assure the claim about her being "openly gay" is completely false.
Note that it comes from "Robert Whitehill, Chapel Hill, N.C." I guess sometimes the long distance relationship doesn't work for another reason.
. . .
Check out the length of my stats
Yay for statistics! Look how many Jaqueline Soohoo managed to fit into one article. I especially like that the headline is "Over the Years, City Work Force Diversifies" and the article leads with a description of a sector of the city work force that looks about the same as before.
. . .
The good, the bad, and the canine
Animal abuse in brief:
When one of the occupants opened the door, officers found a pit bull posing aggressively, barking and snarling.
The dog charged police, coming within inches of one of the officers before the officer drew his weapon and shot the animal twice.
Either the officer has a really fast draw, or that's one slow dog.
. . .
Friday, April 22, 2005
Lakoff gets some interesting news space. The environmentalists are trying to catch up to the fact that they act like nuts, and as a result, most people think of them as nuts.
"We haven't done a good job communicating about the solutions," said Carl Pope, who heads the Sierra Club.
So, how do they solve this problem? They call in Lakoff, who has this to say:
Lakoff argues that the entire public agenda has been seized by what he calls a "right-wing ideological political movement that's extremely powerful and well-funded."
Here's my quick five-second guide to solutions.
Finger-pointing is not a solution.
Something that solves the problem is a solution.
. . .
The senate debated Unterhalter's abuse of authority in single-handedly filing an emergency preliminary injunction that struck two referenda, including one that would have limited ties between the Graduate Assembly and ASUC, from the elections ballot minutes before polls opened April 5.
The night before Unterhalter issued her order, the council had unanimously decided to strike the referenda from the ballot because the language would cause "irreparable harm" to students. Leybovich’s order came too early in the morning for the entire council to reconvene, she said.
I like the wording, especially: They debated her abuse of authority. Not whether there was one or not. And, of course, "single-handedly."
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Thursday, April 21, 2005
Hmm... if you want to get a better education, you might want to improve your handwriting.
. . .
Not as kinky
Continuing out theme of... uh... unconventional excitement, we get to a Yahoo! search (Yeah, people still use Yahoo!) for CIRCUS PROTESTOR STRIPPED PICS.
. . .
The Chron continues to entertain.
On the overthrown governments page:
One opinion poll released over the weekend in Ecuador placed support for Gutierrez at just 4 percent.
Wow. In America, the fact that everyone else hated him would be enough for him to get at least 15% support from the spiters.
The correctly named Andrew Weiner starts a letter with:
I rarely read Debra J. Saunders' column, because I know I won't agree with what she has written...
Way to keep an open mind.
Similarly, Readers Rep Dick Rogers writes a column.
One thing I might note about The Chron's readers reps is that their job seems to be berating readers for having a critical opinion of The Chron, and then pointing out that one dude who agreed with The Chron as the smartest dude in the world.
In this case, the story being questioned was this story on some woman who opposes gay marriage. Yes, a story about some woman who opposes gay marriage is apparently front-page material for The Chron.
Anyway, in the column:
"A San Francisco woman said the paper was kowtowing to Republicans."
Yep, that sounds like The Chron to me.
. . .
Unterhalter was not impeached, but 13 people still managed to think that she should be. Apparently, despite the GA's complaints about the ASUC having control, the ASUC senate continues to be the GA's bitch. (Recall No on 54)
[ASUC senator Peter Chung] argued that by verbalizing the order over the phone to Elections Council Chair Angel Brewer before filing the order, Unterhalter disenfranchised thousands of students before the council had a chance to weigh in.
"Everything Unterhalter did that morning was not something reflected in what the association would have done," Chung said.
No, actually, students had already been denied the ability to vote on the referenda when the whole council weighed in. Unterhalter just repeated that. And, don't forget, the entire council supported her decision.
Chung also slammed Unterhalter for failing to read Leybovich's order before throwing it out.
Hehe. Funny. Because, you know... the Attorney General didn't read the ballot measures, either. No one reads anything, it seems. Anyway, it hardly matters whether she read it or not, if it overrode a council decision, it was needed to be overruled.
"This was a good, though rare representation of the checks and balances system at work in the ASUC," said ASUC Executive Vice President Christine Lee, who led the hearing.
Actually, it was a representation of how that system doesn't work, because even if the Judicial Council follows the senate's rules to the letter, the senate and president will still try to get the Judicial Council out of the way, because the senators do not read their rules, and only act on what they feel like doing. Don't forget this statement which pretty much summarizes the senate's opinion:
"Ideally it wasn’t a good idea to waive the by-laws, but it was really important for us to conduct business and support our student groups."
. . .
Education is a left!
More URM exaggerationification.
A group of roughly 50 students accompanied by police escorts marched down a blocked-off Telegraph Avenue yesterday chanting "Education is a right, not just for the rich and white." They were protesting a system they claim has become inaccessible to low-income and minority students.
Of all the campuses to complain about white people, doing so on Berkeley seems the silliest. "Oh, yeah, and also Asians. We hate Asians, too."
Organizers from the year-old network Action in Defense of Education were joined by groups like the Third World Liberation Front and the campus service worker union.
The union? The union is asking for more money, but wants poorer students on campus?
In Sacramento, the University of California Students Association and California State Student Association held a funeral procession for the California dream in protest of Schwarzenegger's education cuts.
And they wonder why we don't like the UCSA. You see, when you go through a great deal of effort to make an enemy of the people who have control of these things, it tends to work against you when you then ask those people to do things for you.
"While you're patting yourselves on the back because you're so smart, there are kids who, through K-12, didn’t have the skills or resources to compete with you. It's all structural problems," said senior Jorge Roman. 'But at least we have 30,000 students realizing there's a problem."
I agree! But... uh... if that's what you're concerned about, shouldn't you be pushing for more work on the K-12 schools, rather than demanding the university deal with it?
"It breeds violence because there's no opportunity, and then people start complaining," Roman said. "If they put more time into funding education instead of new prisons, I guarantee this kind of crime wouldn't exist."
Can you really? It won't exist at all? Are you willing to stake your reputation on that guarantee?
Still, Poorsina said California's fiscal problems prevent anyone from coming out on top, despite UC doing "at least everything in our power to give aid to the neediest students."
Ravi Poorsina is a UC spokesperson. Janet Gilmore was more fun, but Poorsina has the right last name for this issue. At least everything in their power, they say.
. . .
In the tradition of begging students to raise their fees, here's another one from the Daily Cal:
But under the fee's current provisions, the Life Safety Fee does not apply to repairing the roof.
The campus has categorized the roof as a deferred maintenance issue which requires funding from the campus's facility fee. Increasing the fee requires passing a student referendum.
UC Berkeley's facility fee is currently $57 per year, while other UC campuses set their fees much higher, some reaching up to $250, Weinberger said.
Graduate Assembly Academic Affairs Vice President Rob Schechtman added that students may have to vote on more referenda to cover funding for student-run buildings, which do not receive money from the state.
I don't even know what building they're talking about, but hey, it's a fee increase, and everyone on campus loves fee increases, for some reason.
. . .
Minority enrollment: Time for exaggerations.
This year marked the first time that underrepresented minority admissions increased since they initially began dropping after the implementation of Proposition 209, which outlawed the use of race and gender as a factor in the admissions process.
I suppose one might also point out that while URM admissions decreased in 2002, that was because the total number of admits decreased that year, and they actually represented a higher proportion than the year before. But dude, using meaningful statistics is no way to complain.
Among other demands, the students urged the UC Board of Regents to disregard the new SAT in the admissions process. The revised test implements a writing section, which Cruz said will spread discrimination to Asian, Pacific Islander, immigrant and English as a second language students.
Rewind a few years, "The SAT needs a writing section to better stop discrimination against minorities."
. . .
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
I saw a flier that read:
and my first response was "Damn, that's one hell of a fetish." It turns out, though, that it wasn't an ad for fetish porn, but was actually an ad for "United Hands Across Cal," where people will get together and fight the injustices of the world by forming a long human chain. How exactly that fights injustice is really not important. What is important is that fetish porn will be included. Bring your whips, leather, and photomanipulation software! And if you have a fetish fetish (i.e. you get turned on by the fact that people get turned on by really freaky shit), it's bound to be a bonanza of excitement!
. . .
Article about recreation clubs on Cal.
The winner of the article is the picture. It's of someone in the Scrabble club, and one of the words on the board is "DWEEBIER."
The runner up is "I'm better than all y'all!"
Still, some students say they opt not to join clubs aimed solely at providing recreational activities.
"I want to do something more productive with my extra time," says Hoe Himm Tan, co-president of Bears for UNICEF. "For me, it's less of a social thing and more of an opportunity for my passions to come into play in what I do."
Geez, dude, get a life. You spend your spare time helping people?
. . .
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Somewhere along the line, I became an "involved party" in the whole "Jessica Unterhalter hurt my feelings by following the law, so now I want to impeach her for the emotional gratification of exacting revenge" proceedings, so I receive various briefs and such. I suppose such things are publicly available somewhere, in theory, but the summary points of the defense are of the following forms:
"On (insert charge), there's not any evidence that the charge is true."
(This was for the conflict of interest and campaigning charges)
"On (insert charge), that Unterhalter did exactly what the Judical Rules of Procedure say she should have done."
(This was for the claims that she violated the JRP)
I only got the briefs from Unterhalter and Igor Tregub, who filed an Amicus Curiae brief in her favor, so I haven't seen any of the accusers' arguments, and I'll be damned if I go through the trouble of trying to find them. Still, if someone wants to pass it along in their defense... (otherwise, anyone who votes in favor of impeachment is very clearly just going for revenge, rather than any sense of due process or whatnot, because the facts are pretty solidly on Unterhalter's side.)
. . .
Eat Crow, Patriot
I'm not entirely sure how "Eat Crow" means something, but whatever.
In today's Daily Planet, Brad Beldon comments on the frat hazing:
ABU GHRAIB COMES TO FRATERNITY ROW
Editors, Daily Planet:
The horrors inflicted on helpless prisoners by some of our military personnel at Abu Ghraib in Iraq and in other locations may have ricocheted around in our national consciousness and struck in Berkeley.
In Iraq some of our soldiers felt they could humiliate and abuse captives to get information because the captive was an Other, in that case an Iraqi.
On April 8th in a Berkeley fraternity, a young man was held captive. Because he was an Other, a pledge in this case, he was humiliated and abused to get information.
How different is this behavior from that of Abu Ghraib?
Since we as a nation have not managed to make a strong and effective condemnation of the heinous behavior of some of our military at Abu Ghraib, can we expect to see other instances of similar behavior among our own people here? Especially among the young, who are most easily influenced by what the media shows us to be allowable behavior.
Where is the voice of who we are as a people that can clearly say why such things are wrong both here and in other lands? And be heard?
It seems like everything nowadays is caused by Abu Ghraib. I mean, come on, hazing is caused by acceptance of Abu Ghraib? Putting aside the minor detail that both hazing and anti-hazing regulations predate Abu Ghraib's media storm by a large number of years, and the other minor detail that the "victim" seems to have been relatively cool with it, arguing that "kids these days" will try to model their elders is pretty funny.
. . .
It's time for another episode of WTF is going on in that Jessica Rifkind cartoon.
So, after staring at it for a while, I finally discovered that it was supposed to be that Pi Kappa Phi is the straw that'll break the camel's back. The camel being the university. That is, the cartoon is claiming that the actions of Pi Kappa Phi are going to bring the university crumbling down.
. . .
More whining. This time, it's about how the United States doesn't legally recognize genocide somewhere almost a century ago. Anyway, read the op-ed, it's amazing in its absurdity.
Recognizing and commemorating the deaths of 1.5 million people—meaningless.
Well, yeah, it is meaningless. Can you think of a meaning? It's old news. The only thing recognition will do is piss people off.
On April 21, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Upper Sproul, students from all backgrounds hold hands across the school, symbolizing a united effort to bring attention to all injustices of the world.
Oh, yeah, those are totally related to each other. How are you going to hold hands across the school on Upper Sproul? Upper Sproul is not a huge part of the campus.
. . .
Wayne Lee has an interesting letter. Here's how it goes:
"I used to agree that the sidewalk was for walking, and not skateboarding. But then I got ticketed for skateboarding. Now the sidewalk is totally okay for skateboarding. Yes, I know that my completely unnecessary skateboarding causes people problems, but I don't care at all."
. . .
Yeah, but your name is Ignacio
Whine! That Ignacio Chapela guy is still whining about not getting tenure.
"It was time to open my case up to the purview of the state of California, the nation and the world," Chapela said in a press conference Monday.
Because you've been totally keeping it under wraps, and not trying to draw attention at all.
Chapela, originally from Mexico, also claims to be a victim of racial discrimination during the tenure process.
Finally, he claims that the university committed fraud by not disclosing significant information about the criteria required for obtaining tenure.
Don't you think you're reaching a bit, there?
Anyway, he's sure to get his tenure. UC doesn't not cave in to loud whining.
. . .
A winner is headline!
"Quota Would Limit Northside Food Supply"
Well, actually, it'll limit the number of restaurants, but hey, food supply sounds much more important. Each student living on Northside can only eat a certain amount per day, now.
Also, on vandalism:
"I'm sure they are just young artists trying to express themselves," said Kenneth Sarachan, owner of Rasputin Music and Bear Basics.
Aww... how cute. Maybe, in the future, they can express themselves in ways that don't hurt other people. That's just a thought, though. I certainly don't want to stifle these young kids' creativity.
. . .
Don't forget the seat cushions
How does the ASUC find extra cash? Is there, like, a dungeon under Eshleman, and someone finally got to a high enough level she could go down a floor and find it? Do government folks hide huge sums of money in Easter eggs that were just recently discovered?
. . .
Monday, April 18, 2005
Go go gadget Chron
While The Chron is frequently good for a chuckle, today's had demonstrations of all four major factors for a good newspaper.
Breaking, informative news: "Initiative war could end -- or intensify"
Impressive, unexpected results from studies: "Experts say digital music library reflects listener's personality"
Deep, informed commentary from emotionally charged readers: (this concerns some dudes who got jailz0r3d for lighting a firecracker on a rabbit)
"Further, it seems a bit ironic that Sigmon is now a freshman studying biology at UC Santa Barbara -- odd that he has elected to study biology after showing such a blatant disregard for an animal's life."
"It is well established that serial killers and other violent criminals can start out with defenseless animals."
And finally, unbiased reporting on the issues:
"Bay oil refiners seek big tax cuts
Schools will suffer most if $44 million in rollbacks is OKd"
The article includes numerous mentions of "OMGHUGEPROFITS" and "OMGHIGHGASPRICES" in a discussion of property taxes, as well as the following:
"Should Valero get the tax break it wants, for example, Benicia would have to refund as much as $3.4 million and lose $1 million a year in property taxes, city officials said."
(Note that the italics are not mine, and were included in the print article)
. . .
"(The people of California) do not see what I see every day on campus, that an effort at nondiscrimination has resulted in creating an environment that many students of color see as explicitly discriminatory," he said.
What a coincidence! A majority of California voters in 1997 seemed to see racial preferences as explicitly discriminatory.
Dynes, who officially inaugurated Birgeneau, also voiced his support.
"The best is still in front of us, and Bob Birgeneau is the guy to help us get us closer to that," he said.
Wow, that's a shock. I was totally expecting him to say "Oh, man, what a mistake. I knew I shouldn't have hired that crazy Canadian."
. . .
Fashion show! In college, the important thing is making dreams come true. Also, holding fashion shows.
Three years later, [Nikki Samonte] is no longer just talking about fashion.
Her friends were very, very thankful.
"Berkeley gets a bad rap as not being a fashionable campus," [Sarah Zeiger] said. "But fashion takes many different forms here. Like we've said, smart kids can dress well too, you can care about your GPA and still like clothes and indulge."
I think you're missing the point, lady. For the normals on campus, "indulging" involves not having to worry about what you wear all the fucking time, like the freaks both do and try to get everyone else to do.
. . .
Not to be insensitive to the corpse, but...
On Breland dying:
Breland's friend Marcellis Ashley, a youth educator at the James Kinney Recreational Center, said Breland's love for her constituents showed when she visited the center during her city council campaign to speak to children about the importance of becoming community leaders.
"I have never seen a candidate running (for office) going out talking to children, because children can't vote," Ashley said. "She sincerely, really, really cared."
I don't know which candidates you're watching, lady, but kids = photo ops.
. . .
It turns out the word "unprotestable" isn't very common. Not even the dictionary uses it. But the US Boomerang Association does, and that's good enough for me.
. . .
Friday, April 15, 2005
Is it just me, or did things get really boring all of a sudden?
. . .
Thursday, April 14, 2005
More strike fun
As we all know, the more noise the union makes, the better the contract they get, explaining the drums and clackers. If you're driving by and honk your horn, they get 15 more cents! Honest!
They were marching down Bancroft and shutting it down when I passed. Okay, I guess. That's not really the university they're shutting down, but whatever, don't let details get in the way. They were shouting "Si se puede" because as we know most workers here are latinos, and there are very few blacks or asians among service workers. (By the way, I never figured out if it was "Yes you can" or "If you can." I just assume it's "If you can" so I don't have to find how to write an i with an accent mark)
. . .
Yay for strikes!
Yeah, it's strike day again. Dumb chants, loud whining, banging on passing vehicles, we've seen it all before.
"The workers united can never be defeated!"
Sorry, defeated and united don't really rhyme.
They were shouting "shame on you" at a mail truck leaving through North Gate and banging on its sides. Because, you see, if you bang on the sides of the mail truck driven by some grunt who doesn't control anything, you get a better contract.
I won't be going out of my way to cross picket lines, but I won't be going out of my way to avoid them, either. It's a dispute between the workers and the university, and I'm pretty much uninvolved. And if they want to involve me (though let's face it, a one-day strike won't do jack), I'll probably be taking the side of the people not trying to cause me trouble.
. . .
Nothing to see here
Yep, still almost nothing to say.
Berkeley is directing a new research center on internet security. No word yet on whether they'll recommend preventing people from physically walking into offices and taking information.
This story would be much better if they had a quote from Nayeli Adorador-Knudsen starting on one topic and finishing on another.
You have trouble concentrating, eh? Easily distracted from boring things? Yeah, those are challenges only people like her face. At least she doesn't use DSP services.
. . .
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Read at your peril
Nothing to say today. I mean it. Don't check back here until tomorrow, at the earliest.
. . .
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Student Action Senator Peter Chung and DAAP Senator Yvette Felarca formally charged Unterhalter with abusing her position as a justice to further the agenda of former council Chair Mike Davis.
Not satisfied with extortion, Felarca now wants to accuse anyone who doesn't do what she says of furthering someone else's agenda. "The only agenda that should be furthered is mine!" Note that none of the charges actually explain what rules were broken, which procedures were ignored and in what way, or any such thing. I'm very open to publishing a rebuttal from supporters, but I have yet to hear any claims from them.
Council Chair Robert Gregg said although the justices knew accepting the injunction would prompt accusations of impartiality, the ruling was necessary to ensure a fair trial.
"I regret that my actions were not fully explained to or understood by those whom they affected, but they were taken with every due diligence and respect for the law, both constitutionally and procedurally," Unterhalter said.
Interesting, because Unterhalter was actually explaining a completely different issue than the one Gregg was talking about.
The Daily Cal then tries to do "news analysis." Note the following...
After a series of midnight decisions and after a last-minute injunction from a single justice took two referenda off the ballot, the other branches are beginning to wonder where the council came across its ever-growing power.
Unterhalter is currently awaiting an impeachment hearing for single-handedly striking Leybovich's executive order to restore this year's referenda to the ballot.
That's twice they mention the single-handedness of the injunction. Which was filed against an executive order. That is, an order by the executive. The single executive.
While the council has been criticized by officials like Felarca for isolating itself from other branches by making unilateral decisions and exercising "power for power's sake," supporters say justices are only doing their job.
Power for power's sake? This coming from a woman who sued the ASUC and took its money because of elections rules that had already been changed in her favor. Grow up, woman. And graduate, for fuck's sake.
. . .
What a gasbag
I didn't realize how full of crap GA prez Rishi Sharma was until I read this op-ed on GA autonomy. Read Mike's for essentially a line-by-line for why Rishi is lying.
Essentially, his argument is "We can do it! Really! Trust us! Feel bad for us! We're important! We do all kinds of things! We're totally capable! Really! I swear!" Which would be believable, except that he's making shit up about autonomy. Autonomy comes from the university, not from the ASUC. So please, get your autonomy from the university, and everyone will be happy. Well, except for the GA when it can't break the rules with impunity, but that's hardly a good reason.
. . .
Jessica Rifkind is expecting great things from Bob 2.0's recent attempt to fight prop 209. That's right, an END TO RACISM! (through racial preferences, no less)
. . .
Monday, April 11, 2005
Whoa, slow down, tiger!
Man, have you seen all the new Berkeley blogs springing up? There's... uh... umm...
So, right now, as far as reliable, frequently updated blogs go, we've got Calstuff, Beetle Beat, and the suprisingly successful Cal Patriot Blog. Note what's missing:
Whiny liberals! There's a lot of you out there. I hear you bitching all the time on Calstuff. I hear you demanding apologies for your sensitivity. I hear you with loud opinions on everything. Heck, I even hear you whining about how the current blogs aren't very good. Where the hell are your blogs?
How pathetic. Did you notice how, on things like the Student Voice Referendum, or the "legal" struggles that followed the chaotic end to pre-election antics, there was absolutely no disagreement among these blogs? How boring is that? Where's the blog that tries to defend being offended by Ghandi fucked your mom? Where's the blog that respects the ASUC as a strong body for effecting change?
. . .
This is an e-mail from Jessica Unterhalter, currently undergoing impeachy stuff because the senate is afraid of big strong graduate students, I guess. It was sent to all the important people on campus, and me as well, for some reason. It explains her position and tries to clear stuff up, I guess.
To Whom It may concern,
I would like to clear up any misunderstandings or confusion that may have resulted from my issuing the Emergency Preliminary Injunction that prevented President Leybovich’s Executive Order #6 from taking effect prior to the opening of the polls.
At approximately 11:10 p.m. Chair Gregg, Senior Associate Nikhil Cooper, and myself received a charge sheet with a request for an Emergency Preliminary Injunction from Mike Davis, asserting the question on the ballot that corresponded to the Graduate Assembly Autonomy Referendum violated 4.10.3 of the ASUC Bylaws. This provision ensures questions presented to the students be both an “impartial and accurate” portrayal of the referenda’s intent. Approximately ten minutes later, we three received charges asserting the same arguments for the Student Voice Referenda.
The Chair immediately called the council members into a meeting to discuss accepting the case and issuing the Preliminary Injunction. The meeting occurred online in real time, via an AOL instant messenger chat room, and was attended by the Chair, myself, Senior Associate Nikhil Cooper, and Associates Aidan Ali-Sullivan, Marisa Cuveas, Amaris White, and Sonya Banerjee.
Judicial Rules of Procedure 18.104.22.168 stipulate four criterions a case must meet to be accepted. First, the case must be in the Council’s jurisdiction. Secondly, the allegation must constitute a violation of the Association’s rules. Thirdly, the Council must be able to remedy the situation, and lastly, the case must be filled in good faith. After extensive discussion the Council unanimously agreed that these cases merited being accepted. Furthermore, the Council unanimously decided to issue the Preliminary Injunction. The reasoning, as stated in the text of the injunction written by the Chair, is as follows:
“…if the ballots do include impartial referendum descriptions, student opinion of the initiatives may be permanently tainted. However, if we prevent the referendums from appearing on the ballot, irreparable harm will be done to the Elections Council, who will have to hold a second voting round of some form, which might result in lower voter turnout and additional expenditures. Upon weighing both points, this Council believes the student voter’s untainted opinion and the credibility of an ASUC election to be more important.”
After over two hours of deliberations, the Council released its injunction at approximately 1:25a.m., and alerted all necessary parties to enforce the injunction.
Unbeknownst to me, at 5:45 a.m. on April 5th, President Leybovich sent an email asking for feedback on a draft Executive Order that would postpone the election by one day. The email was sent to the Judicial Council’s listserv, Attorney General Nathan Royer, Mike Davis, the ASUC Secretariat, all ASUC Officers, Jan Crowder, Election Council Assistant Chair Gunjan Goel, Election Council Chair Angel Brewer, Graduate Assembly President Rishi Sharma, Rebecca Brown, Varoon Madak, and Tom Cordi. Even though this email was sent to the Judicial Council listserv, I did not receive it because the list is locked so only Judicial Council members may use it. Any email sent by an outside source is automatically blocked, and bounced to the Chair.
At 8:46a.m., Mike Davis replied to all the above recipients, asserting that he would sue if any such Executive Order was issued and request an Emergency Preliminary Injunction to prevent it from taking effect, as he believed President Leybovich’s action was neither “urgent or necessary,” to the functioning of the Association, and thus a violation of the Constitution.
At 8:50 a.m. President Leybovich sent an Executive Order to the recipients of his previous email, ordering the Election Council to place both referenda back on the ballot. At 8:59 a.m. Mike Davis followed through with his threat, emailing a charge sheet as described above to President Leybovich’s recipient list, with the addition of myself, Chair Gregg and Andy Ratto.
Shortly thereafter, I received a phone call from Mike Davis telling me he had filed another charge with a request for another Emergency Preliminary Injunction. He stated that Chair Gregg was unavailable due to a midterm later that day, and as voting was set to start imminently with referenda back on the ballot contrary to the Council early decision, it was necessary for me to review his charge sheet and decide whether or not an Emergency Preliminary Injunction should be granted. Even though any member of the council may issue an Emergency Preliminary Injunction, it is customary to allow members to make decisions in order of hierarchy, and as Assistant Chair, I was next in line in to do so seeing that Chair Gregg was unavailable. Recognizing the time sensitive nature of the case at hand, I attempted to contact the Chair personally, who was indeed unavailable for consultation; I then proceeded to make the decision on my own.
Emergency Preliminary Injunctions are established in 3.8.1 of the Judicial Rules of Procedure and state the following: “Any Justice may order an Emergency Preliminary Injunction if there is adequate reason to believe irreparable harm will be done before the Council can meet.” The Council had already determined that irreparable harm would occur if the questions appeared on the ballot prior to the hearing. This irreparable harm was what President Leybovich was ordering to take place. Taking into consideration the unanimous decision of my fellow council members, I decided there was “adequate reason to believe” that an Emergency Preliminary Injunction was necessary and thus I subsequently issued it.
I regret that my actions were not fully explained to or understood by those whom they effected, but they were taken with every due diligence and respect for the law, both constitutionally and procedurally. I invite any questions to clarify or further explain the matter at hand to be sent to email@example.com.
. . .
Calstuff has some commentary on what Tejas Narechania complains about: SQUELCH! campaign posters which read something like: "Ghandi fucked your mom and went on hunger strike."
Note that Tejas's column doesn't mention that this was part of a wider campaign of (well-known figure) fucked your mom and (something relating to well-known figure).
"These fliers are irresponsible, especially in an election context. If the SQUELCH! Party does get into office, they've already established a poor foundation by disenchanting a number of professors as well as a large sector of the student population," said Academic Affairs Vice President Rocky Gade.
In contrast, Andy Ratto said on the Web log Calstuff, that "if the Indian Community think (sic) they can get some type of apology, I wish them good luck ..." The SQUELCH! Party couples their offensiveness with arrogance.
Arrogance is thinking that just because you were offended, the offending party must offer an apology, even though the reason you were offended is because you are easily offended.
What the SQUELCH! Party did isn't exactly wrong, but it's certainly not right. The SQUELCH! fliers did little but provoke division on a campus that is already struggling with problems of understanding and unity.
If this is the kind of thing that can tear divisions in the campus community, it's got a bigger problem than the SQUELCH! party.
That's probably the way Gandhi would have wanted it: quiet, peaceful and effective resistance to those forces which aim to tread upon us.
There are people in the world who are genuinely being tread upon. To compare yourself to them because someone made a flier putting Gandhi in a joke is... um... a joke.
. . .
Needs more black
Bob 2.0 on Affirmative Action!
Birgeneau pointed to the drop of underrepresented minority students, specifically black and Hispanic students. In 1997, the last year before the proposition's implementation, UC Berkeley enrolled 260 black students. After eight years of gradual decline, this year's fall class has 108 black students enrolled, the lowest number yet.
"That's too small a number to form a supportive student community, and many of Berkeley's black freshmen view themselves as struggling against a hostile environment," he wrote in his op-ed.
Maybe they should find some white friends, then.
Despite Birgeneau's seemingly more nuanced approach to fighting the plummeting numbers, critics of affirmative action continue to blast the opposition's arguments.
Critics blast the opposition? Like, WTF?
. . .
No paragraphs! Run!
It looks like a stupid article, too, but I'm not reading through that.
. . .
Tired of broken parking meters?
Finally, a solution! Solar powered parking meters! And... uh... well, hopefully nobody tries to park on a cloudy day.
"I'm very optimistic," [some official] said. "It's always nice when you have new technology come out. It's like having the iPod of this month versus the iPod of last month."
Thank God for this month's iPod.
. . .
Sunday, April 10, 2005
There's a powwow going on on campus right now. Headdresses and all. You'd think there'd be protests over stereotyping, but it doesn't look that way.
. . .
Beetle's Amazing Challenge!
It's time for another (or the first, I don't know) Beetle's Amazing Challenge! This time, we're going to be looking at how newspapers, in their attempt to sound professional, use words to describe things which aren't necessarily news. For example, consider the following category:
This is important
I've heard some random people arguing...
And so on. So come up with good categories and/or newspaper translations. The winners, chosen by me according to no particular standard, get something, to be announced... uh... later.
. . .
Friday, April 08, 2005
Just a reminder
A strike date has been set for next Thursday (the 14th). Yay! We all know strikes accomplish things, after all.
. . .
Waaah some more
Old news about impeachment, but excellent quotes!
Assembly President Rishi Sharma accused Unterhalter of being swayed by her former working relationship with Davis in making the decision without notifying referendum supporters.
"It's contempt for the Constitution as a whole by giving more allegiance to her former leader and her vendetta against the GA and the democratic process," Sharma said.
Wow. Allegiance to Mike, vendetta against the GA and the democratic process... It's a good thing no one holds you to your quotes, eh, Rishi? Unless you think you can justify those accusations.
Graduate students said, however, they are convinced Unterhalter's presence on the council damaged the student government's democratic credibility.
Does that count as a charge? Seriously, dudes. Isn't it odd that the people whining about Underhalter's actions seemed to have no problem with the executive overruling the judicial branch? Imagine Bush overruling the Supreme Court. Then come back and whine again.
"We need to bring the justices before the court of the students," said graduate student Duane De Witt. "They're more interested in embarrassing this institution to forward a political agenda. If you disagree, at least do it in a polite, honest manner."
This coming from a person who ran to the senate chambers crying for blood, and who supports a referendum which was not even presented to students until the last minute. Polite and honest indeed.
. . .
Check out those skirts!
Jonathan Stead encourages all singles to take advantage of the spring season and check out all the hot chicks in their short skirts. Hell, in this weather, even I'd wear a skirt.
. . .
"I recognize that it's putting a big burden on the legislature, but that's a consequence of illegally approving an inappropriate referendum. Welcome to balance of power," said council Chair Robert Gregg.
Wow, that's cold.
"Even though the election will go forward, it doesn't negate the fact that many people were disenfranchised," said Graduate Assembly President Rishi Sharma. "I motivated many people in my department to vote who won't vote now."
Of course, having a seperate election for these referenda is actually going to increase support for them, (because honestly, who is going to make an effort to vote against these things?) but don't let that get in the way of a good whine.
. . .
Thursday, April 07, 2005
That's one hell of a hissy fit
Calstuff passes the word. Judicial Council member Jessica Unterhalter is being impeached for halting (*snicker*) Misha Leybovich's executive order that sought to overturn a Judicial Council decision for no particular reason.
Since Student Action and CalSERVE consider the rules to be inconveniences, they don't really care that they don't actually have a case for impeaching her. And it doesn't matter if they have a case or not, because there's no one left to make sure that she's being impeached for an impeachable offense.
The irony is that they're claiming something about due process violations as they're riding an emotion-driven wave.
. . .
The "Um" quote
Although I have nothing in particular to say about this quote about using laptops in class, it still deserves to be mocked.
"It's disrespectful in some ways because you should pay attention to your professor, but if you're bored it's a good way to pass time," says freshman Shauna Yandell. "By being in class, you do observe the material even if you are instant messaging. It's just multitasking."
I think most people need a course in learning how to talk to newspapers.
. . .
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
My GA rep forwards me an e-mail whining about what happened to the GA autonomy referendum:
Fellow Grad Student:
As some of you have noted from voting in the campus-wide student government election this morning, a ballot measure that would have formalized Graduate Assembly autonomy from the day-to-day politics of the ASUC was removed from the consideration of student voters. This action took place early this morning some five hours before balloting was to begin by an order of the Judicial Council. In one sweeping decision, the very politics that the Graduate Assembly has worked to extricate itself from for the last five years has pointed its dagger at graduate students once more.
At the moment, our procedural and substantive mechanisms for attempting to get the measures back on the ballot have been exhausted. ASUC President Misha Leybovich issued an Executive Order requiring the measures to be put before the voters this week, but that order in turn was overruled by a single member of the Judicial Council.
Needless to say, everyone at the Graduate Assembly and every graduate student has interested in the future of graduate student political autonomy regardless of how s/he feels about this particular ballot measure.
Rather than feeling frustrated at the process and the seemingly arbitrary termination of a five-year long process towards graduate student autonomy, it is my hope that we can take from this episode a renewed vigor to participate in the political environment that surrounds us with an eye towards making substantial change.
As such, I urge you to vote, and I urge to get others to vote, in this election despite the cloud of illegitimacy that now hangs over it. The graduate students of UC Berkeley cannot be silenced now or ever by the actions of one person, and by affirming our voice in the political process, we can show those who would deny us what our true strength is.
Rishi N. Sharma
Well, it's poetic, I guess.
Note the following:
ASUC President Misha Leybovich issued an Executive Order requiring the measures to be put before the voters this week, but that order in turn was overruled by a single member of the Judicial Council.
Wow! That's, like, dictatorship! A single member overturned that order by... uh... oh... a single executive...
. . .
I'm too tired to do much whining, so I'll just talk about some of the referenda defenders and their complaints.
"The (executive order) isn't the president’s personal dictator button," Davis said.
Mike has good sound bytes.
ASUC officials and proponents of the two referenda said that the abruptness of the suits and the injunctions threw them off guard.
"This entire process stinks of a due process violation. What is the propriety or fairness of this injunction when it was rushed through in the dead of the night," said Graduate Assembly President and autonomy referendum author Rishi Sharma, who accused Davis of filing the suits in bad faith.
It's sort of hard to complain about abruptness when you put these two referenda on the ballot with no publicity and hope no one notices them before election day.
"If this had happened a week ago, there would have been many remedies. They didn't give us a lot of options," said External Affairs Vice President and Student Voice Referendum supporter Liz Hall.
If we knew about this referendum a week ago, maybe we could've worked something out.
"I can't help but wonder about the fact that Davis is the former chair that sat with many current justices. It's the effect of personal relationship among an elite group of people who are not accountable to students who furthermore think they can control an election that thousands of people vote in," Hall said. "This was not an injunction, but a decision. It's a horrible precedent, and there's no noble reason for this."
Oho, Liz, now you're just talking out of your ass. It's easy to throw around accusations. Don't like a lack of accountability? Don't push for fees that you are not accountable for. It's a horrible precedent. There's no noble reason for this.
. . .
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Well, not really. The referenda are not going to be on the ballot (in theory, though I haven't checked to confirm that). Thanks, Mike Davis!
The cause is that the referendum descriptions are so horribly biased, as usual, but this time it's in the ASUC's hands, which gives Attorney General Davis the power to point out the obvious.
. . .
This is the way it should be done
Unlike the five-day warning on the buy-bus-tickets-for-Liz-Hall's-useless-lobbying-pals fee, responsible folks let us know a year in advance about an increasing Class Pass fee.
I'll probably vote against it, since I don't use the bus much, but I can't really convince people to do so, so I predict passage.
. . .
I disagree with something you didn't say
UC sure gets a lot of patents. It probably helps that we're gigantic.
Because UC has 10 campuses, [Judson King, director of something] said it is unfair to compare the amount of patents UC produces to the amount of patents produced by a small, single-site university like Caltech.
Other school officials disagree, however, pointing to other large public university systems that do not keep pace with UC.
"University of Texas and University of Michigan are also on the list and they are similar in size and in their facilities," said Trey Davis, director of special projects for UC. "I would say that that is a fair comparison."
That is, "It's unfair to compare the UC system with schools like Caltech." The university disagrees, though: "It's perfectly fair to compare the UC system with schools not like Caltech."
UC's research contributed an estimated $5.2 billion to the state’s economic growth between 2002 and 2011.
Yeah, we've contributed a lot to something that hasn't happened yet.
. . .
I hate physics!
Berkeley residents are stupid. They don't want a particle accelerator moved because it's radioactive. Well, okay, the radioactive parts have already moved, but still...
Committee Co-chair Pamela Sihvola said that by making the Bevatron a historical place, the radioactivity instilled in the structure can decay on the spot instead of decaying in several areas.
"Radioactive debris should not be spread around, it should stay in one place so it can decay in one place," Sihvola said. "It's worthwhile to have this facility as a historic place for future generations."
So... uh.. care to make an argument for why it's better for it to decay in one place?
. . .
Monday, April 04, 2005
With our powers combined...
Blog Rangers, away! Calstuff joins in on pointing out the obvious problems with the "hurl money at Liz Hall's pet cause" referendum, although doing so in a more reasonable manner. As usual, my support is the kiss of death, and I fully expect this fee to pass. But still, we've got to get our "I told you so" rights in.
. . .
As an added thought on the "Waste money for useless lobbying" referendum, if Liz Hall's concern was really bypassing the bureaucracy, the referendum would have included both a $4.50 fee increase for lobbying efforts and a $4.50 fee decrease in ASUC fees. Of course, that's not the case.
. . .
Missed a spot, again
Also playing the get-into-the-constitution-free referendum game is a Graduate Assembly Autonomy referendum (page 7). Again, there is only a yes argument.
"Vote YES! to keep the dream alive."
Right. It reads like a temper tantrum by a sixteen-year-old trying to establish her autonomy from her parents but not really wanting it. I remember criticizing the "Autonomy but not" mentality last year as an undergrad, but now that I'm a graduate student... well, it's still a dumb idea.
For one thing, since the referendum demands the GA get total control over all fees paid by graduate students, a true demand for autonomy would mean that grad students would not be able to vote for the ASUC senate and executives. I couldn't find that part of the proposal, though. But then we'd miss out on elections altogether, since GA reps are not generally elected. Which, by the way, is another reason I don't want the GA to have much power, since it's full of activists already, rather than inactive (i.e. less damaging) politicians.
. . .
The day before the election, we are finally informed about another attempt to raise student fees. You can check it out on page 7 of the voter's guide here, and discover that again, a YES argument is presented, but no NO argument is available. This is the second fee referendum in as many months where things are already stacked towards supporting the fee. We need to take action now and stop this "Get a fee increase for your pet cause for free" methodology.
However, [EAVP Liz Hall] said the ASUC elections provide accountability to the students, and it will not get tangled up in ASUC bureaucracy if the money is sent directly to the office.
How do elections provide accountability for us if the people we elect have no oversight over the money?
[EAO Chief of staff Amanda Martin] said the external affairs office's lobbying efforts could stop future proposed fee hikes as high as $400.
Yeah, but they probably won't, so we're just throwing money away.
At least Ben Narodick has some brains on the issue and is standing up for students.
. . .
BUE, the conclusion
BUE: Rebecca C. Brown, because she can't possibly serve in the position.
Brown also plans to budget scholarships for women and underrepresented minorities in the hard sciences and ethnic studies, she said.
Shouldn't men get scholarships for departments like English?
Manuel Buenrostro promises to accomplish essentially nothing, which, I suppose, is better than screwing things up, as most of the other candidates plan.
Alfred Twu is essentially the same as Buenrostro, but if the picture is to be believed, he doesn't have any eyes, which may cause difficulties.
Justine Lazaro, finally on a webpage titled "Justine Lazaro for President," whines about this and that. She wants to "Offer all communities at Cal a seat at the table during the ASUC President's monthly Chancellor meetings," which raises the obvious question, how will she define community? If you define it right, she'd have to secure a spot for every single student at that table.
Under "Building Oppurtunity: Developing Partnerships with Alumni" she plans to:
"Create more financial resources for students, including student organization funds and scholarships"
"Create more financial resources for students, including student organization funds and scholarships"
I think CalSERVE wins the web lack-of-excellence award, narrowly beating out Student Action's horribly formatted but technically accurate website.
Zach Liberman looks the least ridiculous out of all the candidates pictured, so he wins a spot over...
Ronald Cruz, who is also apparently running for president.
"I will oppose any and every effort to subordinate students' interests to the petty interests of the parties," he said.
Cruz said he plans to inspire students to join the movement and reverse the "re-segregation" of UC Berkeley, stop the New SAT and halt fee hikes.
. . .
Saturday, April 02, 2005
Finally, the BUE!
The Student Advocate is charged with making up excuses for liars and cheats. Also for Zionists.
I don't know who the hell these people are, and I really don't care. Mahin Ibrahim and Kiren Rizvi get my endorsement, since they didn't say anything stupid.
Vikrum Aiyer is essentially running unopposed, despite what the ballot may say.
Nare Avagyan wants you to vote for him because he'll be really loud, I guess.
Let's review the names up for election so far:
The SQUELCH! candidate, Mitch Rodricks, is made of purple jellybeans, I'm told.
Finally, Yvette Felarca wants to be Student Advocate so she can shakedown the ASUC more effectively.
. . .
This is the first I've heard of a Student Voice Referendum. I haven't seen anything on election.asuc.org. None at The Committee on Student Fees website. In fact, I can't find evidence of this anywhere but It's a referendum to give more money to lobbying people so they can continue to be ineffective at lobbying.
This referendum is an investment that will pay off a hundred-fold. While it would increase our fees $4.50 per semester, this funding would help us to fight the fee increases of over $400 proposed for next year and beyond.
Liz says that it WILL pay off a hundred-fold. That's a guarantee. Is Liz Hall willing to guarantee our money? Will she pay us all $4.50 if the fee increase occurs anyway (which, of course, it will)?
Putting aside the logic of fighting fee increases by raising fees, what about the procedure? Isn't there a complicated procedure to get a fee increase referendum on a ballot? I was hearing about the health fee referendum since last November. But this one I've heard nothing about. I can't find a copy of it. The election manager doesn't appear to have a location where information is available. Guidelines are here.
The referendum would ensure that students at UC Berkeley would have a much stronger voice during key decisions. It would also free up over $40,000 in the ASUC budget for student group funding.
How does that logic work? If we're raising fees so we can give that money to lobbyists, how does that leave the ASUC with extra money for student groups?
This referendum would ensure that these efforts will not only continue, but grow stronger in years to come. Think what we could do if we were able to take buses of people to Sacramento whenever the legislature has a hearing or the regents vote on fees or financial aid.
Uh... use a lot of gas? Because you certainly wouldn't be able to change anyone's mind.
. . .
Cry. Chris Warren is sad that his fliers keep disappearing. So he asks people to "please stop," because it's mean, I guess. What a whiner. Don't have time to campaign? Then don't.
. . .
You know the big intelligent design vs. evolution debate that's going on on campus these days? You can hardly take two steps without running into a shouting match between opposing experts. Or... uh... well, anyway, The Daily Cal thinks it appropriate to publish a "Yay Intelligent Design" piece, or, more accurately, a "Boo Darwinian Biologists" piece.
The unfathomable complexity of living systems, Darwin's theory affirms, is the result of random variation and natural selection. Is it indeed? Of these concepts, the second is hopelessly confused and the first is of no intellectual interest.
Uh... Random variation is of no intellectual interest, eh? Be sure to tell that to the statistics department, the math department, the economics department, and my department. The second is not hopelessly confused. In fact, the second could not possibly be false. The argument of natural selection is very simple: Those creatures that live longer and produce more offspring will stick around, those that do not will go away. It's not very confused at all. What I want to hear is an argument that says that such a thing could possibly not be true.
. . .
That dead Florida lady gets a column today, criticizing the way the government handled this problem, which is good because we haven't seen such a column. Especially not this week. Definitely not the previous day.
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Robbed! Apparently, these people had multiple Playstations in their apartment. Wow.
Anyway, we see that the robbers were covering their faces with jackets, yet the victims are able to identify them in a lineup. That's why you use jackets for keeping warm, and masks for covering your face.
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Still artistically blowing the artists. This time, it's artists whining about how the city doesn't give them free money.
Artists also say more support from the city would help them maintain its cultural identity, which they say is important for their creative process and for attracting an outside consumer base.
It's not really the government's job to protect cultural identity. That's the citizens' job. If they don't want to, it's not up to the government to step in.
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So, yesterday was April Fool's Day, so I thought I'd try to be a liberal for a bit. It was physically painful, though, so it didn't come out all that well. I mean, seriously, how do you people swallow the stuff that comes out of these people's mouths?
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Friday, April 01, 2005
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Fight for student rights
Liz Hall draws our attention to another referendum during ASUC elections. The referendum increases funding for advocacy activities. We should definitely pass this fee so that our representatives are better able to push for educaation, and fight fee increases.
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Chris Warren, an independent ASUC senate candidate, makes us aware that individuals are tearing down campaign fliers that he put up. The machine that we are so familiar with is again abusing independent parties by taking advantage of their lack of manpower or funding.
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Once again, the generosity of students leads to a crime by individuals taking advantage. My heart goes out to the victims.
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It is a shame that the city has turned its back on the artists that have contributed so much to its culture.
"I'm committed to maintaining artisan (communities)," Bates says. "They're what make Berkeley great."
Odd... I used to think that commitment required some effort or something. Shows what I know. In a sidenote, I'm committed to helping the poor.
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