Wednesday, November 30, 2005
The red thing's connected to the...
This picture is seriously bugging me. I just can't seem to make the various body parts you can see connect in a consistent fashion.
. . .
I'm not too keen with my taxonomy. Are bacteria considered invertebrates, or is Fred Taylor-Hochberg once again too ignorant even to tell a joke? In any case, if you're referring to them as "the other phylum," I know bacteria aren't going to qualify.
Here's another humor lesson: The idea behind comparing something to something else is that the something else isn't something folks normally think of when they think of the first something, and thus sheds some extra light on it. It's a requirement, then, that the something else you're using is accurately portrayed, because otherwise you're not even doing anything. For example:
"Ever notice how bums are like airplanes? They always ask you for change!!!"
is not funny.
. . .
Yay! No news here, just some fluffing. My question of why DE-Cal courses need to be courses rather than just group meetings remains unanswered.
"It has been a pleasure to be a part of the DE-Cal program; it is a friendly giant that doesn't brag about itself," [director Jojo Choi] said. "It will change your life. It changed mine."
That's an interesting viewpoint. "I don't brag about myself. But I will CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!!!!"
. . .
Fight death with light!
Well, you figure it out. To oppose the death penalty, the city left the lights on in one of its buildings until midnight.
The official explanation is that they were too lazy to decorate the building with anti-death penalty stuff, though I'm not sure how wasting electricity serves as a reasonable substitute.
Beetle's Challenge: Come up with an explanation for how leaving the lights on opposes the death penalty.
. . .
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
But he's changed!
Let's see... a non-Berkeley guy is being held by a government that isn't the City of Berkeley for a crime that wasn't in Berkeley and will be executed under non-Berkeley law... This sounds like a job for The Berkeley City Council!!!
[Poet-Politician Kriss Worthington] said [quadruple-murderer Stanley Tookie Williams]' accomplishments, including being nominated five times for the Nobel Peace Prize and once for the Nobel Prize in Literature, earned him the right to live.
Ah, those accompishments. Over at Patterico's Pontifications, where you can occasionally see Berkeley Blogalum Angry Clam, you can find out a little more about these Nobel Peace Prize nominations. They weren't really accomplishments, you see, they were desperate attempts to save the dude's life in the hopes that the media will lap up the fact that "he was nominated for a Nobel Prize" without noting how easy that is. (Patterico is actually trying to get himself nominated on the grounds that he's killed fewer people than other nominees and winners, in the hopes that newspapers might start to realize how empty a nomination is) In other words, what the Daily Cal is reporting as an "accomplishment" was actually an attempt to dupe the Daily Cal into reporting that he's made an accomplishment, hoping that folks will believe, as Worthington does, that earns one the right to live. I'm sure Sean Barry must be very proud.
. . .
Luckily, we have children making the decisions for us.
The class pass is up for rereferendum, and the price has gone up. I personally think that fee increases should be voted on by the folks paying the bills, because as things stand, kids whose parents pay for them or who are covered by financial aid only consider the benefits of "free bus rides" in exchange for an abstract concept of "fee increases." E.g.:
"I would support (the referendum) if they have to raise the fees," said senior Pammy O'Leary, a former Student Action candidate for ASUC external affairs vice president. "I don't like the fee increases, but I don't want to lose my bus pass."
Note that she says "fee increases," which suggests she's not really viewing it as a purchase.
Anyway, the referendum, which will certainly pass for the reasons stated above (the folks who are opposed are the ones who don't care about the buses and aren't going to run to the "polls" to vote), is to extend the Class Pass system for the higher fee of $55. Currently, bus rides are $1.75 a pop, so that's a little over 31 rides a semester. If you use the bus regularly, that's good, if you don't, that's probably bad.
But our mature government wants more stuff.
"The costs students paid for the class pass have been held fixed over the years. So while transit fares have gone up over the years, the class pass fee has not," said Nadesan Permaul, director of transportation at UC Berkeley. "The fee increases will help pay for significant increases in expenses experienced by both AC Transit and Bear Transit. Students are also going to pick up a larger portion of Bear Transit costs."
The ASUC and the Graduate Assembly, however, lobbied the chancellor and a university parking committee to delay the vote and include new services for students in the referendum, saying the increases, which currently do not come with additional services for students, would not be fair, said Alan Lightfeldt, chief of staff for ASUC External Affairs Vice President Sharon Han.
Hmm... costs have gone up... but to pay more without getting something extra would be unfair. Right. Children.
If students vote to increase fees, the pass, which currently allows registered UC Berkeley students unlimited rides on AC Transit and university-run Bear Transit lines, would increase from $37.50 to $55-60 per semester for the next three years.
The increased fees would be in effect until 2013, when they would need to be renewed again through another referendum.
We can reach 2013 in three years, eh? Those must be some long years.
. . .
Like they say...
A corpse is no reason to avoid taking a gratuitious cheap shot at Republicans.
Though [dead rich donator Charles Travers] was a known Republican, [professor Shannon Stimson] said his money did not come with strings attached on how it was to be spent.
"I always found him of good cheer and interested to see what we were going to do but never pushing his agenda at all," she said.
Relevance? Reasoning? Do Democrats never attach strings? Not very subtle, Veronica Louie. I especially like the "known Republican" part, as if it's one of those things people keep secret usually.
. . .
At the Daily Cal? No way. I must have just missed some newslets recently.
. . .
Monday, November 28, 2005
Can't get a research grant?
Complain about it in your local paper. With far more technical details than seem reasonable for an op-ed, UCSF prof Jay A. Levy wants "priorities to be reordered" to approach HIV differently. Somehow, I get the feeling that the priority that needs to be first is the one he is working on. There's nothing wrong with trying to sell your idea to the scientific community, but when you start trying to sell it to the ignorant public in the hopes that they'll apply enough political pressure to bypass the self-regulation of the scientific community, there may be an ethical problem.
. . .
Keh. Where to start. The headline?
In College, Drunk Driving Takes a Back Seat
A headline like that implies that in college, folks don't spend a great deal of effort trying to drive drunk, as students prioritize other things.
Although Statistics Say Students Are Most at Risk, Education and Prevention Receive Less Attention
Less attention than... what? Less is a relative term. Less attention than in high school? Well, yeah, it's a college, not a high school, you can't force people into boring classes like that anymore. But actually, since high school students are still students, that argument doesn't fly, either.
Like many of his peers, UC Berkeley sophomore Adam Malinowski sat through more drunk driving videos and lectures during high school than he can remember.
But since arriving at UC Berkeley last year, Malinowski says he's been exposed to far fewer references to drunk driving, and his attention has shifted to other college concerns.
His attention has shifted? Was it a focus of his attention in high school? Did he wake up every morning concerned first with drunk driving, with chicks a distant second?
"Drunk driving is not really discussed in college," Malinowski says. "I know I learned quite a bit in high school. In college it's harder to educate people than in high school."
What does "quite a bit" include? "Driving while drunk is dangerous and illegal." Gee, that is "quite a bit." Anything else?
A 2004 National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration survey found that 21 to 24-year-olds were more likely to drive while intoxicated than any other age group. According to a 2001 report from the same group, drivers aged 15 to 20 are most likely to be involved in alcohol-related accidents.
Well, hold on now. I thought the argument was that college folks were more at risk than high school folks. But this report seems to suggest that it's the high schoolers who are more at risk, even if they drink and drive less.
To help prevent students from driving drunk, the university offers informational materials through the Tang Center and trains residence assistants and health workers to educate students, says Stacy Holguin, manager for the judicial affairs and compliance in the office of student development.
Residence assistants, eh? Well, forget the dorms, those folks don't drive. The apartments? Do apartment-dwellers even know who their residence assistant is? Oh, but the Tang Center has us covered.
"Woooo, I am sooooo wasted!!! I'm going home!!! But first I'm going to stop by the Tang Center to see if it's okay for me to drive home while drunk....... WOOOO!!!"
Hoguin says there have been fewer alcohol-related infractions in residence halls this semester in part because of the university-enforced moratorium on alcohol in fraternities and sororities. Students must also complete part of an online alcohol-education program before starting classes.
Since they can't drink at the frats, they drink less at the dorms? Astounding. But more astounding is trying to give AlcoholEdu credit for anything.
. . .
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Yeah, it figures
Trust these people. "Write a letter to support a murderer, class."
Then [Angelina Johnson] asked [Stefanie Faucher], "Does Arnold even have his citizenship?"
"No," Faucher replied. "He doesn't."
"How can he be our governor then?" she asked.
Faucher took a step back and reconsidered. "I don't actually know if he's gotten his citizenship," she conceded. She looked to the other adults for help. There were no takers.
Wait, she was ignorant but bullshitted to support her point? Unheard of!
. . .
Friday, November 25, 2005
You know, there are anti-gang activists who haven't murdered people, too. Do they get, like, an extra life? Anyway, good news about Stanley Tookie Williams' attempt to avoid his Dec. 13 execution date:
Schwarzenegger's office said it would decide Williams' clemency request before Dec. 13.
Well, that's a good plan.
. . .
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Everyone laugh at A.J. Buttacavoli, and not just because of his name:
Since the assassination of President Kennedy is within days of Thanksgiving, why isn't that historic occasion recalled?
Because you aren't paying attention?
. . .
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Let's see here...
I'm not quite sure what this referendum is demanding. Does the ASUC need a referendum to negotiate to bring in another company? Will it accomplish anything? I know referenduming is fun and all, but sometimes it really is best to work through the folks in charge.
. . .
I'm sure they tried to find a pro-smoking dude to rebut this. If they needed someone, they could've asked me.
Naphtali Offen: Fans of the Rep must choose between supporting the theater company or disassociating themselves from an industry of death. I would love to see the production, but my associates and I have made the decision to not support a production sponsored by a product that kills its customers.
Blah blah blah, no one's forcing them to kill themselves. Besides, a lot of products "kill" their customers in this definition. Most food companies, equipment manufacturing companies, etc., should be on the receiving end of these folks' anger, too.
DC: "Brundibar" is historically significant because it was performed in concentration camps during the Holocaust as evidence that inmates were well-treated. Has the play's background influenced the protest?
NO: First of all, I am a Jew. For my part, I have avoided raising the issue of the Holocaust because I find that it denigrates the event to use it as a political football. One might say that funding this family opera, as the Rep describes it, with the profits of an ongoing holocaust, five million tobacco deaths annually worldwide, is the real shande. That is Yiddish for shame.
"I'm not going to use it as a political football... but let's just say..." Real smooth.
NO: I try to personalize it. I remind people that the funding comes from the deaths of our loved ones. Most people know at least one person if not many who have suffered from tobacco addiction.
Wouldn't they suffer more if they weren't allowed access to tobacco? Isn't that how addiction works? Oh, well, smoking is a convenient target.
. . .
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Heh part II
It's about time to start regretting my policy of free publicity for whoever wants it. Still, I can make fun of this, so I'll plug it for them anyway.
In a followup, Tony Miros wants folks to promote another dumb MTV show.
In a nut shell - "Camp Steve-O" will feature sixteen parents who sorely need to reconnect with their inner child - and their own estranged children. Our Casting Directors are combing the country looking for parents who are out of touch with their kids, and kids who can't wait for Steve-O to intervene and make their folks cooler. No couples can attend camp together, so kids should single out their most grouchy, uptight, uncool parent. Mom or Dad will be dropped off at the sleep-over camp in Los Angeles by their frustrated children, and they will participate in a multitude of activities which will force them to loosen up and reconnect with the world.
The child will meet with Steve-O and describe their parent, why they are so uncool, and what Steve-O needs to change about them. If they can make it through the camp and graduate, they will receive a check for $10,000 to apply toward their child's college education. Additionally, Steve-O will present the one camper who has made the most progress with a check for $25,000 to also be used in the same manner.
The real challenge is going to be finding parents who are cool enough to do something like this and be the subject of derision for a bunch of viewers, but still act sane enough to piss off MTV's viewership. I guess they might find those who'll just play the part for the money, but it seems like "uptight, uncool parents" wouldn't be willing to take advice from someone named "Steve-O."
Anyway, college students aren't generally eligible (7-17), so there's not much point in actually pointing out the website here, but maybe some of those whiners from the youth voting groups will pay them a visit, or you have a little sibling or something.
The real funny of this stuff is that dumb kids buy it. When there's a disagreement of what appropriate behavior is, the kids think that their rapidly-changing rebellious standards matter enough to justify trying to "correct" the adults, when they're going to be just as "uncool" in a decade or so.
. . .
California is becoming more diverse.
In just 15 years, one in seven Californians will be age 65 or older, the state will add 10 million residents, and Hispanics will account for 43 percent of the population, with whites accounting for about 34 percent.
The white and Hispanic populations are expected to become equal in 2010, when each is projected to account for 39 percent of the population, said Barbara Baran, associate director of the organization and the report's author.
Actually, now that I think about it, that isn't more diverse, that's just more Hispanic. The comedy of the "traditional minorities = diversity" policy will only become greater.
. . .
Ah, the good old days
Remember when you were a kid, and your elementary school teacher made you go in front of the class to apologize? It's okay if you don't, because the same holds true for college.
Now, I should point out that this isn't the first time such a letter has been published by The Daily Cal. Why does The Daily Cal go along with this childish idiocy? Wait, I think I answered my own question.
Anyway, as far as apologies go, this one sucks. Badly. He should've cheated to write it. It's filled with dumb comments and lame excuses.
The university policy regarding student conduct includes many rules. Students rarely read these policies until they find out that they have broken one of the rules. Then they read the words very carefully. They often say that they never have heard of these rules, even though the policies are public, well publicized and often outlined in course syllabi.
Not knowing the rules is the first mistake many students make.
In case you're wondering which obscure, arcane, arbitrary rule Duje Draganja is referring to, it's the one that says "No cheating."
If you do break one of these rules, a second mistake is not knowing your own rights in the process. I have made these mistakes and learned through the process.
Some apology. "I have made the mistake of not knowing what rights I have that I could've used to get out of this."
In this case, you should not resort to any means necessary to achieve those goals. You have to play by the rules or else you may never achieve your ultimate dreams.
Most students usually do not realize this until they slip up and find that their integrity and future come into question.
Hmm... Most students don't realize the whole "cheating can be really bad" thing until they get caught, eh?
. . .
After reviewing the play...
The Daily Cal knows all about scaling. When it comes to establishing citywide wireless:
We have a few advantages over San Francisco and Philadelphia: For one, as a much smaller city the service would have to cover significantly less area than the other two.
While I suppose that's true in an absolute sense, when it comes to providing stuff on a per-dude basis, bigger is almost always better, especially for these kinds of things.
. . .
Speaking of eggs...
Donors Balance Large Sums With the Potential for Psychic Pain And Physical Pitfalls
A difficult balance. In order to illustrate it, The Daily Cal will find a student who had no psychic pain (?) or physical pitfalls. Oh, wait, that would be silly. Actually, it wasn't even a student. Instead, it's a UC Berkeley Alum who graduated in 2002... but is only 21.
Because potential parents tend to choose donors who are attractive and intelligent, some wonder if it is ethical to propagate certain traits more than others.
"The issue arises of whether donors are unwittingly participating in something where some kinds of children are preferred over others," [women's studies prof Charis Thompson] says.
There's no worry of that. I'm pretty sure they're preferring certain children quite wittingly.
. . .
Oh, noes! Scorez!
I'm not sure what the rule is, but complaining about shitty students at our schools is a pretty regular article in The Daily Cal.
Whenever you aren't performing well, there's only one thing to do. What? Improve? Don't be silly.
Superintendent Michele Lawrence cautioned against overreacting to the tests, which she said were just one measure of student performance.
The district should utilize a more comprehensive evaluation that considers other data like attendance figures and dropout rates, she said.
It's better to just find a standard that you can meet. Still, you wonder how well even these comprehensive evaluations are going to be when your principal complains about not being legally allowed to encourage students to skip classes.
. . .
Monday, November 21, 2005
Well, let me think...
MSN always does a good job of putting the three biggest news stories of the day in a small box in very few words. For example, today, we can find:
"Is Zarqawi dead or alive?"
The answer, of course, is yes.
. . .
Got a problem? Raise fees!
Hey, look, another fee increase. I'm sure it'll pass, because students are dumb like that.
This time, the Career Center apparently needs $5 million or so to move a few blocks up Bancroft. Students will be paying for all of it, but it'll be completely under the control of the university, it seems.
A tentative plan would involve a fee referendum, a student vote to raise fees an average of $13 per student each semester for the next ten years.
The fee, which would be subject to removal or renewal by the student body, would increase each year, starting with $10 and ending with $16.
Okay, the first paragraph implies an increase of $13 each semester, for a total increase of $260, and an average fee somewhere around $135 a semester. But we can pass that off as just bad writing.
But since approximately 20 to 25 percent of undergraduates go on to pursue degrees at the graduate and doctoral levels, the move would allow students to use more services, [Center Director Tom Devlin] said.
What? If, say, 10 percent, or 50 percent, did so, would the move allow fewer students to use more services? More students to use fewer services?
On the plus side, at least we'll be getting a service that future generations will have to pay for, as opposed to the "cry over Temina Madon's suicidal pal" fee increase of last semester.
. . .
Injun Joe says:
Our own local intellectuals like Darryl Stein waste no time in showing their ignorance of "the masses."
Today, the portrayal of American Indians in popular culture does little to help. Considering the primary exposure that most Americans have to indigenous peoples is through the derogatory mascots of sports teams, is it really surprising that the problems they face are not taken seriously?
Does Stein know anyone who forms their opinion of American Indians through team mascots? Or does he just assume that's the case for the unwashed hordes who aren't as enlightened as he is?
Those of us who lived with the unwashed hordes know that the connection between American Indians: The People and American Indians: The Mascots is usually not even calculated in our heads. The mascots are cartoons. The portrayal of American Indians in popular culture does affect impressions, but it's through things like TV, not giant stuffed people.
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Sunday, November 20, 2005
Patrick Rodriguez of the Patriot blog informs us that the ACLU will proudly stand up for nothing at all on the Sherman Boyson/Erika Williams spat. Absolutely shocking. At least they didn't pull a San Francisco and say "Gee, we would stand up for free speech, but only if there weren't any consequences."
. . .
Why bother with accuracy?
After fiercely defending his Iraq policy across Asia, President Bush abruptly toned down his attack on war critics Sunday and said there was nothing unpatriotic about opposing his strategy.
"People should feel comfortable about expressing their opinions about Iraq," Bush said, three days after agreeing with Vice President Dick Cheney that the critics were "reprehensible."
Yes, critics are reprehensible!!! That's exactly how to read this:
Vice President Dick Cheney is joining President Bush and other Republicans in accusing Democrats of foul play for asserting that the administration misrepresented intelligence to build support for taking the nation to war in Iraq.
Cheney said Wednesday the accusation is "one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city."
Gee, it almost sounds like he's not calling all critics reprehensible, but just their accusations of false intelligence. Almost. Let's see what Bush agreed with:
"I agree with the vice president," Bush said Thursday in South Korea when asked about Cheney's remarks. "I think people ought to be allowed to ask questions. It is irresponsible to say that I deliberately misled the American people.
"What bothers me is when people are irresponsibly using their positions and playing politics," Bush added. "That's exactly what is taking place in America."
You know, it sounds like he agrees that people should be allowed to ask questions, which is exactly what he said in the followup titled "Bush Tones Down Attack on Iraq War Critics." In this case, "tones down attack" means "doesn't change attack at all."
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Saturday, November 19, 2005
And even if UC officials are suddenly imbibed with the spirit of public openness...
Don't mix administrators and alcohol! Don't they have AlcoholEdu at UCLA?
. . .
In a followup on my search for "some", Mano at Calstuff points us to another article on the video. They still fail to find anyone who actually thinks it's racist, though they do succeed in finding people who think someone else might possibly think so. A useless Beetle Point for anyone who actually finds someone who does think it's racist.
. . .
Friday, November 18, 2005
That's not very reassuring
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi doesn't want his people getting the wrong idea:
He underlined that al-Qaida in Iraq is not targeting fellow Muslims. "We want to assure you that ... you are more beloved to us than ourselves," he said, addressing Jordanians.
"Then again, we blow ourselves up, so take that for what it's worth."
. . .
Pick it up later
Today's DC front page, temporarily available here, lets us know, in the upper right corner:
ISSUE AT STANFORD
So be sure to pick up the big game issue when you go to Stanford tomorrow.
. . .
Thursday, November 17, 2005
You may have heard about this. I watched the video. It was pretty well-done. Some of the jokes were lame, but it wasn't bad overall. I think Cal comes off pretty well, actually. The chin beard philosopher wins.
In what's becoming a trend, far funnier than the video is Candace Murphy's reaction. "Is it racism?" she asks.
But this seems especially sad. It's a school rivalry gone sour. Have students really strayed so far from the bonfires and typical ax-grinding that Big Game week is all about?
This was far more interesting than a big pile of stuff burning.
IS IT SCHOOL RIVALRY or racism?
That's what some are wondering after seeing a video mocking UC Berkeley students.
Oh... "some." I bet "an anonymous source" explained that "experts say" that "polls show" that "some" are wondering.
. . .
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Tuesday's article "Found in Translation" incorrectly stated that 151 students were enrolled in Chinese 1A in the fall 2000 semester. In fact, 254 students were enrolled in Chinese 1A that semester.
Now, let's check out Tuesday's article:
According to Johnson, who has coordinated the department's sections for the past three years, students enrolled in first-year Chinese have increased from 254 in Fall 2000 to 278 this semester, while students in intermediate and advanced Chinese have increased by 70 and 25 students, respectively.
Two things to note:
The number has been corrected here without any kind of notice that the original has been changed.
The new number suddenly makes this story not very interesting. 254 to 278? Big whoop. The correction should have read:
"Tuesday's article "Found in Translation" incorrectly stated that enrollment to learn Chinese is increasing. Actually, it's not. The entire article was kind of silly."
. . .
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
A man of action
ASUC prez Manny knows about aggressive, solid planning:
"Ideally once Lower Sproul is renovated-at some point in the next 10 years, that's my guess-Eshleman Hall, the student union and the Bearcade space will have been renovated."
. . .
Fight social injustice, affecting the huge numbers of people who can afford laptops and wireless cards, but not wireless access.
Whether students attend this university or not should be up to them, just like it was up to the thousands of students rejected from UC.
The UC system, which is not a democracy, isn't run like a democracy!!!
. . .
Monday, November 14, 2005
Critical Mass, as you might know, is where a bunch of people go ride their bikes because... uh... because... you know... riding bikes is important, even if you have nowhere to go.
What started in September 1992 in San Francisco as a gathering for people who use wheeled modes of transportation has since expanded to events in more than 300 cities worldwide.
Wheeled modes of transportation? Like... cars?
Sometimes folks get arrested.
"The war on bicycling, the Constitution and public use of public space has cost us all very dearly," wrote [Jason Meggs], whose organization [the Bicycle Civil Liberties Union] is assisting several Critical Mass riders in harassment lawsuits against the Berkeley Police Department."
Let's not overinflate what we're doing, now...
"It is a source of pure joy, and a rare reclamation of our public space heritage," Meggs wrote. "There is virtually nothing like it in this society."
Ah, yes, public space heritage. I get the feeling Meggs is also a strong supporter of pot clubs.
. . .
Don't stop talking about me!!!
Hey, little girl, we can't read your sign.
However, protesters from Code Pink, an anti-war organization, were still present at the event, saying people risk forgetting the current conflict if they exclusively discuss past ones.
"To just sit here and talk about World War II doesn't validate other wars," said Berkeley resident Jasper Summer.
Actually, it sounds like she's saying "people risk forgetting the current conflict if, for a split second, they talk about something else."
. . .
World's smallest violin joke
First read the ad:
Last October, UC-Berkeley sophomore Erika Williams was called a "b---h" by an undergraduate advisor, who days later then called her a "n----r." When she attempted to file complaints with the University, the University offered no assistance and engaged in a cynical process of buck-passing. "I have been the target of race and gender discrimination by a member of UC Berkeley's staff, and I've gotten NO satisfaction from my dealings with the appropriate university officials. I've just been given the run-around. This is not only a fight for justice for me, but for the dignity and right of all black, other minority, and women students to be treated as human beings and with respect," Williams said.
Now read the story.
The ad suggests that Williams walked into Sherman Boyson's office saying "Gee, I'd like to take a physics course," to which Boyson responded "Go back to ethnic studies, you nigger!"
Actually, what happened was they got into a fight off-campus, she called him a "fat fuck," and then he called her a "nigger." Wah. Look at all the injustice on campus!!! Look at this particular example... uh... off-campus, where someone received a hostile comment... in response to her own hostile comment.
But that's not all. Not only did Williams throw a fit over a fight, she then went after the dude's job. The university rightly noted that it doesn't police the behavior of its employees in non-university, off-campus issues, which is now being held up as an example of the "hostile atmosphere on campus." Boo fucking hoo. If you want to fight, then fight. Don't go running to an employer like a pansy.
Oh, and the dude apologized. And informed his supervisor. Two things he didn't really need to do, but meh.
"He attacked my gender, he attacked my race, my heritage, the two things that I could never change about myself," Williams said.
I think this is Williams justifying her action of calling him a "fat fuck," because hey, that's something he can change. Way to be a model.
. . .
Saturday, November 12, 2005
These are secrets?
The Chron seems to be implying that UC staff are actually overpaid by revealing the TOP SECRET non-salary stuff UC gives to employees. None of the things that Schevitz and Wallack seem so shocked by seem particularly shocking to me, though since my parents were university dudes, maybe I had some "inside info," however obvious it all sounds.
None of that was mentioned in a consultant's report the university released in September saying UC executives' salaries are 15 percent below those of their peers at other major universities. The report, by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, was part of a proposal to UC's Board of Regents to consider management, faculty and staff pay raises.
In September, UC released the Mercer report, which university officials said proves their employees are underpaid in salary. But the study focused on employees' base salary, and excluded some other forms of cash compensation -- such as relocation stipends and administrative stipends.
Well, that's partly because every university that you compare UC to will do exactly the same thing.
. . .
I'm "going" to a conference 'till Wednesday or so. "Going" is in quotes because it's in San Francisco and I'm commuting, but I'll probably be on a reduced-posting schedule.
. . .
Friday, November 11, 2005
Reading Comprehension skills... lacking
"Talk host's towering rant: S.F. not worth saving"
Yes. Actually, he said that if S.F. won't support the military, the military shouldn't support S.F. by saving it. That's slightly different from just saying a city isn't worth saving. I don't quite understand why people are reacting hugely to this.
. . .
UC's... interesting excuse for breaking policy:
UC spokesman [Michael Reese] said Dynes didn't need approval from anyone else -- regardless of what the policy says -- because his office created the policy.
"It's a presidential policy," Reese said. "So, why would he go to the provost to change his own policy?"
Why, indeed. Whatever you think about Dynes and Greenwood, Reese certainly isn't the most competent PR dude in the world.
. . .
Conspiracy theorist Rio Bauce covers the amazing performance of Berkeley High on Nov. 2, the World Can't Wait thingie (how'd that go, guys?).
"I tried to be as supportive as I could of the students' efforts," said Berkeley High Principal Jim Slemp. "My goal was to make sure that students were not going to be hassled if they wanted to leave. Also, I tried to make sure that absences were able to be excused. It would be illegal to have the whole school participate in the walkout, but I did the most I could to support the students."
Uh... so, the principal is making sure that students can skip school easily and without consequences, while sad about the legal restrictions that prevent him from having everyone skip. Will this get him fired? Disciplined? Criticized? Ha!
. . .
Becky O'Malley is happy about Republican woes. She doesn't seem to be happy about any of the consequences, but just about the fact that bad things are happening to Republicans. She's bothered that Harriet Miers was replaced by a candidate who actually knew about being a judge, not (I hope) because she wants an ignorant Supreme Court Justice, but rather because it makes it harder for her to "win." Way to be an excellent caricature, Mrs. O'Malley.
. . .
Thursday, November 10, 2005
This was a poorly done job. After all, who actually reads their high school website?
. . .
What's a teenager?
The Oct. 15 killing shocked Lafayette, and in the days after Dyleski's arrest Oct. 19, many people said he seemed to have changed in recent years from a typical boy who enjoyed Little League and scouting into a dark, brooding young man who favored long hair and black trench coats.
Wait, he changed in recent years from a typical boy into a typical slightly-older boy? That's news?
"We want to let people know that Scott isn't the monster that the media is making him out to be," said a 16-year-old girl named Violet, who attended Wednesday's hearing and asked that her last name be withheld because of the intense media coverage of the slaying. She and two friends said they had met Dyleski during middle school. "I don't think people should be making judgments about him based on his appearance. He's never shown us anything but kindness."
I think people are making judgments about him not based on his appearance, but because of his act of murdering someone... uh... allegedly, I mean. *snicker*
Kyle Tuominen, a friend of Dyleski's at Acalanes High School in Lafayette before Dyleski went on to Diablo Valley College, said he "had a really hard time at school" because he refused to conform.
Ah, yes, refusing to conform, just like everybody else. You're going to have to do better than that to stand out.
. . .
We subvert goals
Bone marrow donations, but no pictures of Andy's ass. What gives?
"We don't like to advertise too much toward the general population because we get people who are really hard-up for money," [nurse Lindsay Palomino] said.
We do, however, talk to newspapers who will describe this to the general population. Still, she gets points for recognizing that students think they need money but really don't.
"We don't want to jeopardize the safety of the blood supply by encouraging donations for financial gain," said Sara O'Brien, a spokesperson for the Northern California American Red Cross Blood Services.
We do, however, let newspapers describe donations with an emphasis on financial gain.
"The procedure is pretty safe and easy, and it's quick money," [Senior Michael Weber] said. "I don't tell my parents because they would just give me the money."
I do, however, mention it to newspapers which can be easily read by my parents. But I've got a suggestion: Tell your parents anyway, and then give me the money that they just hand out. Isn't it at all embarrassing to admit something like that?
"We don't want to advertise this program as someone's means for economic salvation," [Palomino] said. "It's important because it provides cells that are going to help fight the battle."
We do, however...
. . .
Bob 2.0, on the affirmative action train.
"We will not be able to have an environment which I consider non-discriminatory until we repeal 209," Birgeneau said.
Repealing 209 means allowing the imposition different standards on students based on their race. So, using the substitution law, we have:
"We will not be able to have an environment which I consider non-discriminatory until we allow the imposition of different standards on students based on their race."
I think I'll chill in the discriminatory environment, then, if it's all the same to you.
"I think both our alumni and the government are going to have to stand up to the plate," Birgeneau said.
Damn Canadians. You don't stand up to the plate as if you're fighting off platal oppression. You step up to it.
"He didn't specifically address all of affirmative action," said graduate student Karen Krushwitz. "But I was especially impressed with the compassion for Hispanics ... in a Hispanic state."
That is impressive! I think. Because, compassion for Hispanics in a non-Hispanic state would be... uh... less impressive... I guess... as would compassion for people of all races... and... uh...
. . .
Joe Wilson, of all people, is complaining about deception.
Wilson said he believed the leak occurred to scare Bush administration foes from raising questions about intelligence and the war in Iraq.
"My speculation has always been that it was done to silence other potential critics," Wilson said.
Let's do the math. In order for that message to be heard, it needs to be clear that the government is doing the leaking for this purpose. But, of course, if people think that the government is leaking identities to punish folks, that's not going to have a net silencing effect on critics, considering the number of new people who would start complaining. So I'm going to have to call bullshit. It's a shame the Daily Cal never tries to be critical of folks who come to talk.
Wilson also said Libby and presidential adviser Karl Rove, who is also said to be under investigation in the leak, manipulated the press.
"I think the press was set up," Wilson said. "The press was fed lies by Libby."
Don't you think that reflects poorly on the press, then? Isn't it their job to get to the bottom of things? When they admit that their ass is so easily kicked by the government, why should we trust them to criticize it?
"It is worth it to watch politics with the same enthusiasm as watching a Cal football game," he said.
This statement is far more accurate than Wilson wants it to be.
. . .
The Daily Cal tries to analyze elections. Act I:
"Some folks spent a lot of money on the election to make sure everything lost. Now that everything lost, they say that it was a waste of money because everything lost."
The logic sort of hurts my brain. Why should we even care if folks spent $400 million pushing their goals? That "price tag" hardly counts for most people. The $50 million government price tag actually matters, but that's just not as sexy-sounding.
This story reminds me of something I've noticed. All those supporters of 79-80 are still including their defeat in their claims of victory.
Finally, in the credit-claiming department:
"I considered the election a huge success. I'm incredibly proud of all of the work that all students have done," said Taylor Allbright, co-founder of the coalition. "In Alameda County it was overwhelmingly defeated, and I believe that we can attribute some of that success to the efforts of UC Berkeley students."
If it wasn't for the efforts of the student folk, Berkeley would totally have voted for Prop 73. Yup yup.
The proposition was met with a small fan base in Alameda County, where it gathered just 31 percent of the vote.
Having a third of a city as your fan base is not small. Even having a tenth of a city (which is where I think we end up after accounting for registration and turnout) as your fan base is not small. Just ask any performer.
. . .
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
The Examiner screws up, too, saying that Prop. B in SF passed, when it did not. (It needed 2/3 of the vote)
The Chron reports that "Kansas challenges Darwin," once again displaying an impressive ignorance of scientific history. This is, however, not to say we shouldn't laugh at my home state, as they certainly deserve it.
We also hear that "White House won't rule out presidential pardon for Libby." Of course, what they're actually referring to is the fact that the White House isn't answering any questions about the topic, including that one. They could just as easily have written "White House won't rule out kneecapping Fitzgerald," or, even better, "White House won't rule out firing Karl Rove." So let's patiently wait for that to be reported...
Further, "Voters take stand against... recruiting at schools." Once again, you have to read the context to discover that "taking a stand" doesn't involve actually "taking a stand" by doing something (i.e. "taking a stand") but rather by saying "Gee, I would've liked to have taken a stand, but I don't want to lose money." If that's what passes for "a stand," I'm going to take a stand against material possessions by throwing away everything I own, except in the cases where throwing it away would cause me to lose it.
. . .
I'm not really up to date on my quantum physics, but this article looks like it took some physicist metaphors a bit too literally. Can any actual physics folks confirm or deny this?
. . .
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Does the Chron QC department just take a vacation on election day? Apparently, "San Francisco voters approve handgun, military recruiting bans." In this context, approval of a "military recruiting ban" does not include a ban on military recruiting. If you wonder what else goes into a ban besides the ban, you're not alone. No, the "military recruiting ban" is actually a "military recruiting impactless discouragement."
Or, if you just read the story, in an article with a title that says "military recruitment ban approved," you can read that "However, it would not ban the armed forces from seeking enlistees at city campuses, since that would put schools at risk of losing federal funding."
. . .
Also interesting on this Chron results page is that all local measures say "Requires a simple majority," which seems at odds with the voter's guide. Of course, no newspaper would ever screw up something so idiotically trivial to check.
. . .
How should the Daily Cal report this?
It's an election: Something that doesn't happen here, but seems pretty important. The Daily Cal has never been spectacular on reporting such things, so what are some guesses?
California ballots counted at (some building where polisci folks hang).
Constitution physically amended at (some building).
Berkeley delivers concession speech.
Some folks were happy. Some folks were sad. Some folks didn't care.
. . .
In the "Not very subtle" department (on prop 77):
Democrats, who dominate both houses of the Legislature, labeled the proposal a Republican power grab along the same lines as the mid-decade redistricting engineered by Rep. Tom DeLay that cost Democrats four congressional seats in Texas.
We don't want power grabs!
But Proposition 77 also drew opposition from some Republican congressmen fearful that a mid-decade shakeup could cost them seats.
Haha! They're cowards for wanting to protect their seats, unlike the courageous Democrats who were fighting a power grab.
Meanwhile, note that it's labeled "Governor's redistricting measure trails," while the fact that prop 79 is failing isn't labeled "Whiny progs' measure trails," or "San Francisco Chronicle's measure trails."
. . .
It looks like every measure is going to fail, with the possible exception of Prop 75, which was the one I thought almost certainly would fail. It's interesting watching and waiting for Orange County and Los Angeles County returns which, as of this writing, haven't been reported.
Interestingly, San Francisco's measure E seems to have vanished, here, and even earlier was missing from their list of endorsments (but has appeared since). It's not very important (it's a housekeeping thing), but it's definitely present.
. . .
What counts as an apology?
"I fight for what I think is right. In doing so, I alienated a lot of my fans and my teammates," Owens said, reading a statement outside his house outside Philadelphia.
Well, somebody is wrong about what's right.
. . .
Are you voting?
There's something silly about a poll on whether you're voting or not, available on various news sites. More disturbing is the person who would take the time to vote "No" in such a poll.
. . .
Well, it's not as windy as it was earlier, but my toe itches. I think I'll pass on voting.
. . .
This article on The Chron's front page:
Phillies' Urbina charged with chasing Venezuelan workers with machetes and attempting to set them on fire.
I don't even want to read the story, because it might ruin the humor.
N. Kirk Lucas has an awesome name, and gives one of the more compelling demands for a suicide barrier that I've read. Still, I say, "Seriously, depressed people? This is what Chronicle readers are so angry and outraged about it? Useless little depressed people? Get a life, people."
. . .
Continuing the theme of whiny women... Letter sprint! DC and BDP:
Brian Wantz isn't a woman, but writes with the mathematical understanding of one. He's objecting to the compactness requirement of Prop 77:
And second, Proposition 77 includes several standards the judges would be bound by, despite their alleged nonpartisan independence. Importantly, one is a "compactness standard," that decrees that the minimum number of districts shall exist in a single city and vice versa. While this seems to make geographical sense, consider the arithmetic: Ask your Math 1A GSI and she'll tell you any time you have an optimization problem (in the case, optimizing fair representation in state government), you will have a better solution without constraints (i.e. compactness standards) than with constraints. In other words, these standards, which must be followed, impede fair redistrictng.
Alternatively, ask your IEOR GSI. IEOR folks actually deal with real situations rather than mathematical abstractions. IEOR folks might point out that optimizing requires some kind of objective. The concept of "fairness" can only be defined relative to some theory of what would be absolutely fair. One measure of fairness might be the avoidance of arbitrary boundaries, which is actually more suitable as a constraint than an objective. In summary, unless you're going to go out and define fairness mathematically, don't bring up mathematical arguments for fairness. By the way, do they teach optimization in Math 1A here?
Free Beetle Points to whoever can figure out what John Bauer is saying. Can you imagine a legislature being in charge of its own district lines?
And on to the Prop 73 whining, where the real feminine whining rears its head:
Alan Steinbach may as well be a woman, when he says:
It's their safety and our responsibility.
Why is it our responsibility? Becase Steinbach says so.
Nicole Sarabia-Rivera wastes no time in telling an outright lie. Did I say outright lie? Yes, I did. Nicole Sarabia-Rivera is a filthy liar.
What you may also not know about this proposition is that it will require doctors to report the names of these teens to the Department of Health Services. The niggling question in my mind is: For what reason does the Department of Health Services need to know the names of these women?
Fascinating! Part of the reason we may not know that is because Prop 73 says "The report forms shall not identify the minor or her parent(s) or guardian by name or request other information by which the minor or her parent(s) or guardian might be identified."
Meanwhile, if you read the rest of the piece by the filthy liar, you can find this impressive statistic:
Of those minors who did not inform their parents of their abortions, 30 percent had histories of violence in their families, feared the occurrence of violence, or were afraid of being forced to leave their homes.
This is supposed to be an objection, but it seems to me to be a good reason to pass Prop 73, as the remaining 70% who are just being petty wouldn't have a choice.
Apparently, some teacher in Berkeley high asked students to write a letter to the Daily Planet, because there are three letters from high schoolers which all look like they follow exactly the same outline.
The first one may be a parody, considering the name attached to it is Tiara Swearington. She lists how some of her friends have really petty and exaggerated reasons for not wanting to tell their parents, again an argument that seems to go in favor of Prop 73. Also, it's biased because parents are voting. Duuuurr... Apparently, three of her friends say:
My parents tell me all the time if I get pregnant I would be dead or kicked out.
Really? Do parents actually say that? How often does it come up?
Anyway, read the letters and draw the parallels. They're pretty blatant.
. . .
Oh, sheesh, women are so damn whiny.
Let's start with the gracefully named Rachael Alyn Petach. As if women didn't already have a reputation of being pointlessly whiny, Petach continues to undermine any progress towards gender equality by throwing a fit about The Patriot's joke in some issue:
On page 21 of the aforementioned magazine, there was a simple page with contains the heading "A Coherent Argument for Feminism" followed by a complete absence of text and in small text at the bottom right corner of the page, the instructions, "See page 33." Page 33 does not exist.
Now, the joke is lame, not because it attacks feminism, but because it's not specific to it. I could make that joke about any topic. Still, the reaction to this lame joke is astounding, and is making it better and better (this is the third objection I've seen).
You see, feminists have a reputation of being shrill and whiny, so feminism gets lumped into that, rather than being "equality of sexes" as feminists seem to desire. When, for instance, someone throws a fit that my mother is the cook in the family, in the name of feminism, it's hard to take the movement seriously. (Sorry, RebC) Responding to a lame joke with "Articles or insinuation such as this one simply undermine decades of work by strong, intelligent and highly coherent women," doesn't help matters.
Seeing as a representative of the magazine can take the time to stand on our campus and pass out that issue, it would be appropriate that in their next issue the same page is occupied with a short piece of the validity of women's rights.
Look for it on page 33. Write it your own damn self. Saying "someone else should write my opinion" is so ridiculously lame.
. . .
People don't care about boring elections?
"Ballot measures don't have the sex appeal that an election for governor would," said Sherry Smith, president of the League of Women Voters for Berkeley, Albany and Emeryville. "I don't have a whole lot of consonance that we're going to get anything but a small voter turnout."
I like how the meaning of "sexy" has changed to be unrelated to sex. What kind of consonance would a large voter turnout have? I've never been good with English, but isn't consonance... you know... something else entirely? A good joke is just waiting to be told by someone with a better grasp of literary devices than mine. (Okay, I looked it up, and I didn't know about the harmony/accord definition. Still, I don't think that definition fits particularly well into Smith's sentence, either.)
. . .
Well, it's not raining, but it sure is windy. I think I'll skip voting.
. . .
Monday, November 07, 2005
There's not much that's scarier than seeing a Daily Kos reference on your tracker.
. . .
It'll probably be raining on election day, too. Is that reason enough not to vote? I'm still undecided.
. . .
Psst, talk to me, I'll pass it on
Let's see what passes for "judgement day" for the Daily Cal:
"All the smart money is counting on him being re-elected next year whether or not these measures go down," said UC Berkeley political science professor Jack Citrin, who teaches classes on public opinion and voting behavior. "But if they fail, it will certainly erode his sense of having a special connection with voters."
Judgement! Still re-elected, but a sense of connection may be eroded!
Students especially have been vocal against what they call needless political activity.
"A lot of people on campus don't have positive feelings about the election," said James Fullmer, external vice president of the Berkeley College Republicans. "They believe its just a waste of money and a power grab."
I'm interested in whether Fullmer actually agrees or is just repeating his view of campus. Because that'd be pretty fucking assholish of The Daily Cal to ascribe the view to him implicitly, as they do.
This week, Courage Campaign, a Bay Area online advocacy group, launched a series of advertisements linking the governor and President Bush's policy-making styles.
Oh, that's courageous. "Hey, everybody, you all hate Bush, right? Well, hate Arnie too!" The cowardly thing to do would be to actually deal with the issues.
. . .
Al Franken, Barbara Boxer. Who could ask for anything more?
While Boxer's re-election in 2004 garnered little national attention, she did make waves after the election, when she was the only senator to join Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones and other House members in contesting the certification of Ohio's electoral votes for President Bush.
This is something to be proud of?
"I don't think much of Schwarzenegger," he said. "I know why he doesn't like teachers though. Someone was supposed to teach him English, and he's just mad they didn't. He attacks the weirdest people, like nurses. Who attacks nurses?"
Hahaha! That's... uh... wait, is that funny? This is a professional funny guy, and he tells "haha, that foreign guy doesn't talk good" jokes?
. . .
Well, we're convinced
It looks The Chron has succeeded, with its "Wheeee-SPLAT" series on a Golden Gate suicide barrier, in convincing... The Chron.
BUILDING A SUICIDE barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge won't ever be an easy sell. Too many people have contrary opinions about the cost, appearance and effectiveness, or even if there's a social duty to curb such deaths.
But it is time to settle the debate on humane and defensible grounds. The bridge is a dangerous lure for troubled people. If they can be prevented from leaping to their deaths, many will find the help that deters another try. Their lives can be saved, and the damage to families and friends can be avoided.
That's an interesting way to settle the debate. "I'll just pick one side, assume it's absolutely correct, and use that to claim that this side is absolutely correct." Note that the consideration of the cost or whether there's a social duty have been "settled" by assuming that the cost is not worth considering and the social duty is automatic.
. . .
Sunday, November 06, 2005
We're all gullible and dumb
A lot of people sure seem comfortable relating how easily manipulated they are when someone tries to make them feel bad. Look at these masses of silly putty. You can even draw a Venn diagram.
I am the stereotypical bleeding heart liberal who is comfortable spending huge sums of other people's money to feel good about myself if someone raises an emotional issue: Liz Froneberger, Keith Perdue
I am the stereotypical bleeding heart liberal who thinks that if a life can be saved in an obvious manner, we should save it at huge cost (and possibly by not saving other lives) by taking responsibility for someone else's decision about her own life: Jan Weith, Marya Grambs, John King, Chris Hawkins, Liz Froneberger, Carma Winfrey-Hayes, Bill Tilden
I am a complete idiot who thinks that the impact of someone trying to kill herself and failing is the same as the impact of someone not trying to kill herself: Jan Weith
Nutcase Marya Grambs tried to jump off the bridge but couldn't, and thinks this somehow means a suicide barrier should go up. It wouldn't save Marya's life, of course, because Marya didn't even jump when there wasn't a barrier.
While I disagree with the conclusion, Mary-Colleen Tinney is at least consistent about wanting to save lives, rather than just wanting to save lives obviously.
But I have no hope of that, and instead foresee tens of millions of dollars spent on erecting a barrier to prevent those 19 deaths while hundreds, if not thousands, suffer and die in the streets and homes of San Francisco not just from suicide but from other causes that an influx of $2 million would help. But, as you point out, those stories occurring in darkened alleyways or graying homes don't have the so-called romantic beauty of the leap from the Golden Gate Bridge, nor the public outcry, nor the seven-day series.
Chris Rasmussen had close pals suiciding with dugs and hanging.
While neither of my friends used the Golden Gate Bridge as a vehicle for death, in response to their passing I would humbly submit that I've neither the urge to ban prescription drugs nor the growing of trees.
Glenn Perry is a psychotherapist who calls it correctly:
It might come as something of a shock, but I am completely opposed to erecting a barrier to prevent these acts. While I would do everything in my power to dissuade someone from jumping, it is not right to require society to pay the price of someone else's reckless act.
In my opinion, barrier building is synonymous with co-dependency and the out-of-control PC mentality that has taken our culture by the throat. It presumes collective responsibility for actions that are individually self-destructive. We are not responsible. You are not responsible. The person who commits suicide is responsible.
While I sympathize with the grief of those who are left behind, their suffering is not sufficient cause to create a barrier that not only would destroy the natural beauty of both the bridge and the view but also would serve as a constant, grim reminder of the selfish, hostile and ultimately immoral actions of those who have jumped.
In my opinion, the proper response to bridge suicides is to ignore them. They are not newsworthy. We should focus instead on doing everything we can to increase quality of life and celebrate its beauty. A morbid preoccupation with death, and frantic efforts to control it, is not charitable; it is merely symptomatic of an anxious, fear-ridden, death-phobic society that confuses intrusiveness with compassion.
While I disagree with him that jumpers are immoral and selfish, those who are related to those who jump and demand a suicide barrier certainly are.
. . .
Time to backpedal
Ha. Dumb kid. The media attention does it, and the kid gets to go see some other doctor.
But surprise! The OMGEVILHMO folks were bullshitting. The doctor who supposedly said "I can't do this and he has to see that other doctor immediately" actually said "Sure, I can do this, but the family seems to think that other guy is better." But hey, what are facts when you can pull the heartstrings?
. . .
Saturday, November 05, 2005
It's the last day of suicide week, and the closer is Heidi Benson, possibly the dumbest yet.
In the late 1970s, two scientific studies concluded that survivors of suicide attempts from the Golden Gate Bridge do not "just go someplace else."
Dr. David Rosen, then of UCSF's department of psychiatry and Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute, spent 2 1/2 years researching "Suicide Survivors," an in-depth study of six people who survived jumping from the bridge. The study was published in 1975.
Almost unanimously, the survivors said that their "will to live had taken over" after they survived the jump. "I was refilled with a new hope and purpose in being alive," said one. "Surviving reconfirmed my belief and purpose in my life," said another. Only one person in the study made a subsequent suicide attempt.
Well, yeah, if you're looking at people who actually jumped, they'll have a change of heart. But for it to be relevant to Heidi's point, you'd have to believe that the impact of jumping off a bridge and surviving and the impact of showing up and being disappointed that there's a fence are the same.
The bridge was taken into account by Dr. Herbert Hendin, medical director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in his 1984 book, "Suicide in America."
"Leaving the bridge without a protective fence seems to imply a social sanction for those who would jump," Hendin wrote.
"Similarly, failure to restrict access to guns and drugs conveys the message that we are willing to accept the consequences of their uncontrolled use. Our policy choices should provide clear statements that we do not encourage destructive and self-destructive behavior, and equally clear notice that we value constructive ways of dealing with the pain and rage life contains."
Well, Hendin's a fine little fascist, isn't he? Use policy to tell people what they can and can't do. God forbid we let people make their own decisions.
Each year, hundreds of thousands Americans survive suicide attempts.
Even after such a violent act, "it is possible not only to recover from being suicidal, but it is possible to lead a rich, fulfilled life afterward," Sonoma therapist [Richard Heckler] insists.
"During and after their recovery, people become spiritual in the most fundamentally important way -- they give back what they have learned," he says.
Once again, we see someone trying to assume that the consequences of trying and failing to kill yourself will apply to someone who didn't even get around to trying. What we really need is a way for people to try to commit suicide and fail. That might be more useful. Also, with a name like Heckler, he should totally be on our side on this issue.
. . .
Woo! We're rich!
It's a made-for-Lifetime situation. Some unlucky kid is not going to get treatment for some serious problem because the big bad HMO won't make a special exception for the white kid who can lasso media attention at the expense of all of its other members.
. . .
Friday, November 04, 2005
Oh, look, The Chron finally has something to say about the handgun ban. Tantrum-throwing supervisor Chris Daly thinks that, because of San Francisco's rising murder wave, it needs to become more like Washington D.C.
But the genius doesn't stop there.
"It clearly will be thrown out," said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom on Friday, adding that he planned to vote for the measure anyway to show his opposition to the proliferation of handguns. "It's so overtly pre-empted. I'm having a difficult time with it, and that's my one caveat. ... It's really a public opinion poll at the end of the day."
So he's going to attempt to pass something that will do nothing but cost the government money to defend, eh? That's some fine governance.
I'm not sure if Sue Ann Schiff, gun control lover, recognizes the ironic way one can take this statement:
On the gun violence issue, what is happening in Washington is demoralizing.
. . .
Er... wanna screw?
I bet Rico Chenyek feels awkward here.
From the story:
"I wish I could vote so bad," said Kandy Stewart, a 16-year-old junior at Berkeley High. For the past two months, she has been a shoulder to cry on for her pregnant teenage cousin who lives out of state. Her cousin wants to have an abortion, but the mother is forcing her to keep the baby, Stewart said.
"My cousin is a model and a basketball player," she said. "Now she feels like her career plans are over. Forcing teens to tell their parents is dangerous because a lot of parents have different ideas than their children do about the right way to go."
Now, when Kandy says "dangerous," apparently what she means is "dangerous to our own desires to do whatever we want," rather than "dangerous to the girl." In fact, by law, the disagreement between parents and children about the "right way to go" is automatically won by the parents in most cases.
Under the law, doctors would alert parents in writing. Exceptions would be made if an abortion was needed to prevent the mother's death or if a teenager had a note from her parents waiving notification. In all other cases, a teenager would have to go to court to avoid alerting her parents.
A waiver, eh? "Hey, mom, dad, can I have a waiver so that I don't have to notify you if I... uh... hypothetically got pregnant?"
"Not everyone has the best relationship with their parents," said Olivia Obidah, 16, a Berkeley High junior. "What if the parents are abusive or kick the girl out of the house? If girls don't want to tell their parents, then there's probably a very good reason why."
Right. It's never something petty and meaningless when it comes to teenagers arguing with their parents. Never.
For Christina Reyes of Hayward, who recently turned 18 and now attends UC Irvine as a psychology student, this is the first time she's old enough to vote. She's going to vote yes, and religion has nothing to do with it.
"My mom works in a women's clinic, and we have a great relationship," Reyes said. "Obviously I'd never want to be in that position, but if I were, I'd want her to know and help me decide. It's too difficult to handle such a big thing alone. It should be a group decision, because a lot more people than just the mother are affected when a teen has a baby."
Uh... yeah, lady, if you want her to know, you can always tell her, even without Prop 73. That doesn't really explain why she supports it.
Novato High student Kristi Karinen, 17, said she envies her friends who can tell their parents anything, but she doesn't believe a law will change things for families like hers.
"If I got pregnant, I, as a teenage girl still living under the jurisdiction of my Catholic father and grandmother, would rather risk my health and have an illegal abortion performed than face the shame of my family for years beyond my childhood."
She'd better hope they don't read the Chron, then.
. . .
Chris Thompson actually challenges Becky O'Malley's mindless repeating of the "newspapers that don't do what we say are 'toeing the establishment line'" mantra by quoting this article. If you have a strong stomach, you can see the pictures by following a link at the bottom. If this is what the establishment wants us to see... uh... well, hey, I'm not the establishment, so don't ask me.
. . .
CalPIRG whines about high education costs, as usual. While the op-ed is titled "Students Must Fight for Higher Education," if you read the piece, it's tough to find that thesis. There are six paragraphs, mostly dealing with "OMG Rosa Parks was teh awesome!!!" and only a little blurb in the fourth mentions the price of education. It's essentially a commercial which uses some admired figure to promote a product despite the rather weak connection, except CalPIRG didn't even have to pay for the endorsement deal. What a rip-off.
. . .
We'd better start being a little careful about who we hire. Why, according to this article, a 17-year-old girl who randomly slashed a woman's throat "has been a warden of the state since she was four." Don't we have age limits?
. . .
How about them drugs!!!
"Under 78, there is no guarantee that anything will happen," said City Councilmember Kriss Worthington, who wrote the bill endorsing Proposition 79.
In an unrelated comment which detracts nothing from Worthington's justification, under 79, there is no guarantee that anything will happen.
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That's an effective week
Awesome! A week of fundraising raised $11,000. Also, the Sunday night event raised $11,000. Which means that the rest of the week of fundraising raised:
$11,000 - $11,000 = $0.
Wooo! Go fundraisers!
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Thursday, November 03, 2005
Whoa, this guy's awesome!!!
The Chron decides that the best journalism is ass-kissing journalism, as it bows down to worship some activist, Al Birney, who fucked up a perfectly good suicide location in Toronto.
"When a space shuttle goes up in flames, a nation goes into mourning. When the mentally ill jump, it's 'Let the bastards die,'" he said.
*sigh* Should we explain it again? They were trying to die. They died. Okay, fine, case closed. Note the difference between this and folks who were doing something dangerous for the sake of science, or, more importantly, something that doesn't involve trying to die. So yes, it's exactly "Let the bastards die."
"The council acknowledged that if it could be done, it should be done," said Toronto Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone. "It was hard to argue when you came face-to-face with people who lost a son or a daughter. When they stare you in the eye, it's hard to say, 'Go away, lives are not worth spending money on.'"
Yes, it is hard. If you can't handle it, you shouldn't be governing anyone. If you can be manipulated so easily, what use are you?
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Don't let newspaper folk touch statistics. If you do, you get things like this:
Margaret Bridges, co-author of the study and director of child development at the institute, acknowledged the study showed that disparities in early cognitive development between children from wealthy backgrounds and children from lower economic backgrounds would not necessarily decrease, and that the gap could be addressed by prioritizing resources for certain at-risk groups.
I want to emphasize that no plan or proposal or suggestion has been raised in this article. So the "disparities would not necessarily decrease" doesn't actually refer to what they're not necessarily decreasing because of.
Black children who attended preschool lagged in social development compared to black children who did not attend preschool, while white and Hispanic children showed almost no decrease compared to children of the same ethnicity who did not attend preschool.
All economic groups showed less social development compared to stay-at-home children, except those from middle-income families, who were not socially affected by attending preschool.
Note that Asian children don't actually exist. Also note that some races had less social development, while some had no difference. Miraculously, when you stuff all races together into an aggregate statistic, you get less social development. That's high-quality work.
Data on social development was collected by surveying teacher's observations. The study did not directly assess the social development of children not attending preschool.
Uh... so... um... what did they compare social development of those attending preschool to?
[Co-author argaret Bridges] acknowledged the study did not measure the strength or weakness of the individual preschool programs, but said it gave a good approximation of the effects of pre-kindergarten education.
"This study gives an overview of average quality," she said. "We're saying that in a childcare center of average quality, these are the effects we're seeing."
Cool. So where can I go to check out this average-quality childcare center? How much more useless can this work get? At first I thought The Daily Cal was just botching their reporting to make the work seem idiotic, but with a comment like that, who knows?
Oh, by the way, kids go to preschool. Therefore, here's a picture of some kids.
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What kind of conversation is going on here?
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Oh, I buy that.
Anti-war activist Bill Mitchell withdrew Tuesday from a Veterans' Day speaking engagement in Berkeley, saying he plans to attend another event.
Mitchell withdrew because of a previous engagement in Los Angeles, according to Cisco DeVries, chief of staff to Mayor Tom Bates.
So, if he had a previous engagement, you have to wonder what the debate was about.
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That IS peace!
On SFChron's frontpage, this story is headlined:
10 Arrested In Downtown Protest
Anti-Bush demonstration through S.F. is mostly peaceful. Chronicle building hit by a Molotov cocktail.
The protesters also staged a "die-in" at Hyde and Market, in which they lay down on the street.
All right, guys, just because you call it a [blank]-in, doesn't mean it'll have the same impact as the sit-ins of the civil rights movement. The reason those things meant something was because the act of sitting in was illegal in many cases, and it was civil disobedience against an unjust law. Yes, civil disobedience, which is "disobeying an unjust law," not "doing something illegal while complaining about the government." A die-in is just a bunch of idiots lying in the middle of the street.
As they lay in the street, about 25 police officers in riot gear holding batons told the protesters that "anyone who didn't want to be arrested should get up and move to the sidewalk," said Villa.
About a third did, Villa said. Without warning, she said, the police circled the remaining protesters, charged in and grabbed them, forcing them to fall on one another.
"Without warning"? Isn't that what the previous paragraph describes? A warning?
Anyway, these folks sure don't seem into it. From The Daily Cal:
"Anybody who wants to complain about Bush, here's a day to do something about it in a peaceful manner. We're not rioting, we're not setting things on fire," said UC Berkeley junior Trevor Adrian just before a Molotov cocktail was thrown and burst into flames as the group moved in front of the San Francisco Chronicle building.
Whoops. I bet you feel dumb, now.
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Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Wooo! Go... uh... you!
I wasn't paying attention. Has the Bush regime been driven out yet?
Anyway, here's an interesting article on how some anti-recruitment folks support a draft. The irony goes beyond just "Hey, they're opposing recruitment, but want everyone to be a soldier." It goes all the way to "Hey, this is discriminatory towards minorities, so let's bring back slavery."
I think the most interesting thing here, though, is that it helps demonstrates that being anti-war doesn't include being anti-war. It really just means that one wants to win. So yes, bring back the draft, because then the injustice will be so great that people will get mad and then WE WIN!!! Nevermind that we've increased injustice. That's only a side issue.
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Raar... conservative BAD
Intelligent debate on judge whatsisname:
He claimed that because the federal government doesn't provide protections based on sexual orientation, then the court isn't required to protect that class of people. Perhaps he should support broadening civil rights protections rather than limiting them.
Or, perhaps, he should uphold the constitution.
I have no problem with protecting free speech, but there are proper venues for such speech. Directing it at vulnerable gay and lesbian students, who are grappling with enough teen angst without being subjected to hateful speech, is not appropriate.
And therefore unconstitutional? Because if not, it's not something the judge should be getting into.
Alito's decision served to perpetuate hatred, fear and prejudice rather than advance the noble ideals of respect, nonviolence and social tolerance.
Take it up with the constitution, dude. Being a judge isn't an elected position where your job is to make the government do all the good things. It's a position where your job is to make sure the government does what the government is supposed to do.
There is solid foundation for this in law, in the "reasonable man" principle. The reasonable person exercises due diligence to ensure that his acts (including words both spoken and written) do not injure others. The reasonable man sets the stage for civilized governments to establish systems of justice and fair play. What is good for the reasonable man is good for us all.
Acts always injure others. Always. The reasonable man, by this definition, does nothing. And, of course, the job of the judge isn't to "do the most good" as Terry seems to think. Otherwise, we may as well go with the "dictatorship" approach to government.
Under this principle, no responsible jurist in the 21st century would conclude that it is appropriate for a woman to get a man's permission to have an abortion. The social order and the common good would be seriously disrupted if such a practice became precedent.
I sure hope Terry's not talking about that case which did not involve spousal permission, but just notification. But I sort of think that's the case.
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Accuracy is important
It's important to get the record correct. For instance, always issue a correction when you incorrectly spell someone's name... five years ago.
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This'll work, for sure
Fight vandalism by... uh... this. I don't see how they plan on getting a return on their investment. Encouraging folks to report vandalism to the police? What for? Why would anyone do it? "Let's see, I can not get involved, or I can get involved and suffer only negative consequences as a result... tough choice."
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It's suicide week here, and The Daily Cal joins in. Apparently, Kristen Lahmeyer felt that the appropriate way to kill herself was to make someone else feel like shit. This is all the more reason we need more bridges to jump off of, and easy access.
Anyway, all the warning signs were there, so you wonder what her pals were so surprised about.
"She was taking medication," [Mojdeh Rezaeipour] said. "But she said that she was just taking a semester off and she was better now."
People who are "better now" don't take semesters off. They take semesters off to go stew and feel like shit until they kill themselves or wake up.
She switched to an art major. If that's not a sign of someone not thinking about the future, I don't what is.
Natasha Streit, though, is the only reasonable person quoted, who, instead of screaming "OMG I NEVER KNEW," wishes her friend well.
Coroner David Foehner finds interesting things fun:
"I think what I like about this job is you get to deal with people," he said. "I have to talk to family members all the time and in that you see the capacity people have, that no one ever talks about. You know, the worst day of these people's lives, I'm involved in it. That's pretty heavy."
Because what could possibly be better than seeing people worse off than you every day?
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Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Some zombies respond to the whole bridge-jumping fad I love so much.
Chris Walcott, Jonathan French, and Brian and Jenny Brick mindlessly repeat the "Oh, but they'll go somewhere else" mantra. It's not really true (remember, these people are crazy), and it undercuts the value of the bridge, that John Rutherford understands:
Again and yet again the Golden Gate Bridge is taking the blame for providing a service for those who may well need it. Would you rather find your loved one too near the automobile's tail-pipe?
Stan Hall is pissed that someone stopped whining about Iraq for a second.
Today's installment of "Wheeeeee-SPLAT," a series on Golden Gate Bridge suicides, is from a person who not only failed at life, but failed at ending it, John Kevin Hines.
He went to Walgreens for his last meal -- Skittles and Starbursts.
Geez, put some variety in your last meal. Get a candy bar or something. It's not like you're going to have to worry about being sick afterwards if you eat too much.
He wanted to end his life by leaping off the bridge because he thought a gunshot or an overdose of pills would hurt too much.
Oh, that's hilarious. What did Mom think?
"Please, God, don't let him be like Christopher Reeve."
If you're telling the story later, shouldn't you... you know... polish it up a bit?
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I can wait all day
Can the world wait?
Gavin Alle Raders has too many names to be taken seriously, even if you ignored his comments.
After he walked away, a debate erupted about the disruption of class and what forms of protest are legitimate. Let us be clear: This is an issue about the denial of human rights, not academic freedom.
Well, if that was the case, maybe you should've protested in a different way. Like many things, this also may come as a shock: Sometimes, more than one issue is relevant to a situation.
Professor Yoo did not merely lecture on the merits of torture as an interrogation technique, he and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales are the architects of the legal validation for torture. This fact is tremendously significant, as the Bush Administration is seeking to make the U.S. the only government in the world that can legally torture other human beings.
I'm unclear as to how that's tremendously significant in changing the nature of the protest.
That which you will not resist and mobilize to stop, you will learn (maybe in a Constitutional law class)-or be forced, to accept.
This is also a line in the full-page ad (see below). But you know, if you accept it, then it's not really a problem, is it?
How horrible must things get before good, intelligent people decide to act with the moral certitude that comes from knowing that we have truth and right on our side?
Clearly much more horrible than they are now. Is asking dumb questions for which the answer is absolutely obvious the standard for World Can't Wait folks?
The launching of this movement on Nov. 2 to force the Bush regime to step down is the culmination of five years of utter travesty. We extend a hand to all those law students who have courageously called for John Yoo to recant or resign, and we implore everyone to join the millions of us who are determined to change the course of history.
Yes, calling for John Yoo to recant/resign is very courageous and will help drive the Bush regime from power. Meanwhile, over in reality...
Anyway, the World Can't Wait folks took out a full-page ugly-green ad in The Daily Cal, advertising their day of OMGACTION!!! tomorrow, when a couple folks will skip out on work or school. Some highlights:
The beginning is a list of "Your government does something bad" comments, which can only suggest that the World Can't Wait folks aren't Americans, since it isn't their government. Do we really care what non-Americans think about America? Ha! We don't even care what Americans think about it.
The stuff about fighting Bush with Democrats isn't going to work. Therefore, the true way to fight is to "walk out of school," "take off work," "come to downtowns and town squares," and shout really loudly. That'll definitely work. It'll work so well that the exact same giant sentence pair appears twice, in two different paragraphs. This suggests that the folks who edited it actually believe they're hearing something new even when they're hearing the exact same thing as before, which actually fits rather well with the way anti-Bushies act.
"NO! THIS REGIME DOES NOT REPRESENT US! AND WE WILL DRIVE IT OUT!"
Heh. I'm sure you will, tiger. You can even become president if you really want to.
One of their endorsers is "Anti-Flag."
The plan is to assemble on Sproul at 9 am (haha! Yeah, sure), and march through campus demanding folks join them, and reach the BART station by 11 am. It's advertised as "No School! No Work!" I have more important things to do, like stare at walls, but if anyone wants to cover it, it'll be a great opportunity to get into blogging.
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