Monday, February 28, 2005
But wait, there's more
Yes, there is more to love about this health fee. After all, even if it is ripping us off, it's still helping us, right?
Nope. Here's a list of what the student fee will buy us. It's bad enough that most of the "things-to-accomplish" are vague and likely to not mean any significant benefit. But make sure you read to the bottom:
Allocations are based on student demand as indicated by student surveys and health care utilization data. These allocations may change annually, based on input from an independent student health advisory committee.
Ah, yes, the mystical committee again, this time with complete control over the fees. After all, whenever something needs to get done, a committee makes sure it gets done. Right? I mean, just look at all those examples of committees accomplishing great things on campus, such as... uh... um... making us pay a health fee? Check out this guarantee, answering the question of How do I know the fee will really improve health services?
The referendum requires that a student health advisory committee be formed, to oversee use of the fee money. This committee will work with health services officials to ensure that fee revenues are allocated to best meet students’ health care needs.
That's it. "You want better services? Give us money, and then we'll form a committee." That's their grand solution.
Moving right along, let's just suppose, for the sake of argument, that throwing money at this will improve health services. It still seems pretty unlikely that there'll actually be more money available for these services. Providing directed fees gives the university that much more incentive to yank general funding, so we can expect that, after all of our extra fees, there won't actually be any more money available for health services.
But wait! Doesn't the referendum guarantee that this won't happen?
The fee is intended to supplement but not supplant the portion of UC Berkeley’s Registration Fee income currently allocated to University Health Services, Tang Center.
Once again, that is the complete extent of the guarantee. "We don't really want it to happen." Oh, sure, that'll protect funding. It says so right in the Fine Print:
This referendum states that funds would be used to supplement but not supplant current campus funding for University Health Services. Students understand this to mean that passage of this fee would not result in a targeted reduction to the portion of UC Berkeley’s Registration Fee presently allocated to University Health Services, Tang Center.
Well, if students understand it that way, it's sure to go exactly that way. Just ask the Multi-Cultural Center folks.
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Hey hey, ho ho, these racist fees have got to go
I figure if I call the health fees racist, everyone will oppose them. And they're racist because... uh... dude, it's racism, it doesn't need to be justified.
So many places to start. Let's see what SHAC (the folks who are so generous about helping others that they'll force everyone else to do the same) has to say:
Wait, do you think I'm exaggerating? "As members of the student Health Fee Advisory Committee, we are willing to pay $43 a semester in order to protect and improve our access to health care in Berkeley. We hope that you will join us." How about asking, then? You know, like a voluntary donation of $43 a semester. Heck, since you like the idea so much, why don't you cover it yourself?
Anyway, let's check the math. Remember, the fees are $43 a semester, and $31 for the summer. That's $86 or $117 a year, depending on whether or not you stick around for summer.
Next, SHAC estimates the break-even point:
If you visit the Tang center 2.5 times or more per year, then you will "break even" with the Safeguard fee. The average Berkeley student visits Tang 2.5 times per year and could pay up to $35 per visit if the referendum fails. For this student, the Safeguard fee is budget-neutral.
Now, 2.5 visits at $35 a pop is $87.50. Sounds good, right? No, wait. That's only if we aren't around for summer. If we really want to compare this to the $86 a year cost, we'll have to subtract out all visits by students to the health center over the summer, so we probably won't have 2.5 visits anymore (of course, I'm not sure, since SHAC conveniently leaves this obvious detail out), and we'll be saving less than $86 a year.
But wait, there's more. Even if you accept 2.5 visits with no summer, the estimate of $35 a visit is the high estimate. Right from SHAC's site, you have, in the list of what could happen:
New visit fees (“co-payments”) of $20-35 per visit for every medical or Urgent Care visit to the Tang Center.
Oooh, well, so it may be quite a bit less than $35 a visit (maybe even $0). I guess that screws up the math even more, so that in the end, the average student isn't even close to breaking even.
Oh, and that even assumes that this fee won't be changing. Of course, it will be changing:
Each year, the independent student health advisory committee overseeing this fee may recommend changes in the allocation of fee revenues, to meet the evolving health needs of Berkeley students.
Evolving health needs, eh? Expect increases of around 5-7% every year. Oh, and don't forget. Once it goes up, it'll never go back down.
Most of the decisions about increasing the fees and how to use them come from a mystical independent student health advisory committee. Who'll be on this committee? Who do you think? Hell, the group currently pushing this proposal is called... wait for it... The Student Health Advisory Committee. Independent my ass.
. . .
Bob 2.0 sends an e-mail to us all about the stupid, stupid health fee that Temina Madon wants to inflict upon us because she feels bad about something-or-other. And who could possibly oppose health? Someone with enough brains to both recognize that the fee doesn't do anything but yank fifty bucks a semester from us, and enough balls to actually say so to people who'll interpret it as being "anti-health." Unfortunately, it also has to be someone with enough free time and connections to run a campaign, and that sure as hell isn't me.
Anyway, information is here, including a "pro-fee" website, and a (*snicker*) open space for anyone who wants to campaign "anti-fee." There's not a whole lot of point in trying to fight this thing, since the warm fuzzies people get from "health" is pretty much going to overwhelm any reality check, but if you're interested in campaigning against the fee, "contact the Election Manager."
Here are some quick reasons to oppose the fee, to be enumerated in detail later (when I get time)
1) It's expensive, and you'll probably never get any benefit out of it.
2) There's no particular reason to believe that passing the fee will even boost funding for health services.
3) The fee will likely increase every year, at the discretion of a not-even-close-to-neutral "committee"
4) The Student Health Advisory Committee is effectively lying to you in the hopes that their heart-warming stories will make sure you don't actually see what the fee does (or, more accurately, doesn't do).
. . .
Cramping my style
The Patriot Blog already pointed out the obvious in this article about the African American Student Development office. The new director is named S. Nzingha Dugas. *sigh*
She points to the many times she’s heard of professors questioning the legitimacy of black students’ research as an example of the shadow of doubt that can follow black students.
When professors falsely insinuate that black students have plagiarized their assignments, it undermines their academic self-esteem, Dugas says.
Professors question the legitimacy of all students' research. That's part of their job. They can't just make exceptions for black students. They're also supposed to check for plagiarism.
I'd really like to hear specific examples of this, where a student is accused of plagiarism because she's black. That'd be worth hearing. But if we're just going to throw broad accusations of racism at professors in general, that's just not cool.
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Nothing to see here
Black! Did you know that there's an African American studies program at Berkeley High? You should, if you read regularly. That's the department that has veto power over Academic Choice, for some reason. But in case you missed it, the Daily Cal provides this breaking news: Berkeley has had an African American studies program for more than 35 years!
When [department head Robert McKnight] joined the department’s faculty in 1971, there were about 900 students and more than 10 teachers in the program, he says. The department, then under different leadership, flourished, McKnight says.
The department has been slowly shrinking since 1997—in 2002, four teachers remained. Then the department lost its journalism teacher, and publication of the department’s black student newspaper, “Ujamaa,” ceased.
That's hardly something to readily admit. "Yeah, back when I wasn't in charge, things were going great. Then I became department head, and things went downhill, fast."
“(African American studies) is too important to world history and world civilization to lose its identity by becoming co-opted in other departments,” he says.
Yep. All the more reason to keep the Asian American studies, European American studies, and Latino American studies departments seperate, up and running, too.
Berkeley High alumni who visit him say their experience in the department was unique and valuable, McKnight says.
“One of the things they always shared, 100 percent of them, was that students cannot believe that they had an opportunity to take African American studies in high school,” McKnight says. “What they know about their culture places them light-years beyond other (college) freshmen.”
Well, yeah. The ones who didn't feel that way wouldn't have bothered to visit you. That's like "100% of the folks who responded to this survey say they were willing to respond to this survey."
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This is serious. Seriously
Stopping rape is important. When people know rapists are around a certain location...
“I used to run by there every day,” said Diana Gordon, a local resident, “I haven’t been since, I’ve just stopped running. I’m getting fat!”
Please! Stop the rapists! No fat chicks!
. . .
A newspaper willing to be controversial
While the Daily Cal has its shortcomings, the Daily Bruin knows that it can take a controversial position. Like "Bush is bad." (Interestingly, the article is about arms trade, which is hardly unique to Bush's administration. But hey, whatever.)
. . .
Saturday, February 26, 2005
I fixed a problem where the individual post pages' links were all screwed up. Now they work! (I'm a little concerned that the individual post pages are going to ruin my Google fun)
. . .
Wait... no... hold on...
How do you spell gullible? Find out!
Also, "Nurses take special interest in governor". Sounds like somebody's going to be hearing more sexual harassment charges.
I might add this one. Some black dude shot some harassing drug dealers when they attacked him. Fine by me, of course. But what if it was some white dude? "OMG Guns bad!" "Trigger-happy second-amendment nut!" It certainly wouldn't be labelled "Defending his turf." Maybe that's why The Chron put a huge front page picture showing that the guy was black: so people wouldn't complain.
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Friday, February 25, 2005
I'm sad! Everyone pay for me!
Health Fee Referendum info.
Over 24,000 students use on-campus health services each year. The average student visits the Tang Center 2.5 times a year. If this fee is not passed, the Tang Center will have to introduce co-payments (visit fees) as high as $35 per visit. Based on this information, the average student will break even or save with the pre-paid “Safeguard” fee.
Want to guess why they gave an average, rather than a median or mode? Yes, some people have to go to the Tang Center lots of times. Others never go. The people who go fifty times a year sort of skew the curve. If you instead measured how many students will break even or save with the (haha) pre-paid "Safeguard" fee, you might see something different. The rest of the data is just as bad.
Per visit co-payments may deter students from seeking necessary health services when needed. In a Fall 2004 survey of several thousand Berkeley students, 17% said that if $20 co-payments were introduced at the Tang Center, they would definitely delay seeking health care—even for an urgent problem. Almost 50% said they might delay seeking help if a $20 visit fee were required.
The survey of several thousand Berkeley students was based on voluntary response. It is not a particularly valid representation of Berkeley student opinion.
The pre-paid “Safeguard” fee protects students from the risk of expensive co-pays in the case of sudden and unexpected illness or injury.
Nothing in the fee proposal suggests this risk will be reduced. We will likely still have to co-pay.
At this point, not only am I opposed to the pointless fee-increasing aspect, I'm opposed on principle of basic honesty. If people want me to pay 50 dollars a semester for other people's problems, they should not lie to me about it.
Update: It occured to me that the math wasn't working out above. The claim is that the average student will break even or save with the pre-paid safeguard fee, since they visit 2.5 times a year and would have to pay $35 a visit without this fee. That's $87.50 a year in co-pays. The fee is $43 a semester, and $31 over the summer. That's $117.00. This, of course, even ignores the fact that $35 a visit is the high estimate, and that the passage of this fee likely will not eliminate the co-pay, so even if you ignore summer, that's still $86.00 a year in fees, which will likely still be higher than the co-pay reduction times number of visits.
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Oh, no! Suicide! Off the bridge! That's terrible!
First off, there are crisis counseling phones on the bridge. Seriously.
But money concerns should be secondary to the human cost, several board members and citizens said. They urged the district to seek grant money, donations from the public and help from organizations and philanthropists who want to halt the suicides.
"Put up electric cattle guards. I don't care," said a tear-streaked Terry Oxford, whose husband handed out invitations to a memorial service in Salinas for her daughter, Jennifer, who leaped off the bridge early last Friday morning. "If I had $2 million, you'd have it. My child was worth more than that."
If it only saves one life, it's worth it, no matter what the cost. Like, if it only saves one life, killing 500 people is worth it.
And all these folks coming forward crying about how their kids or friends or whatever killed themselves... nice job! Way to be such great friends! It reflects poorly on you when the people around you want to kill themselves, you know.
Just let them jump. It's their life.
. . .
Take that, Patriot blog
Ignorant people are scared of RFID at the libraries. The first letter, from Jack Finzel almost sounds like a parody, but I get the sad feeling that it's not. I'm more interested in Afrida Freeman's claims. Afrida says that wireless technology is unhealthy. RFID is bad because it bathes us in radiation. Oh no! Oh, by the way, you know that light stuff you see? That's radiation, too. Where are our darkboxes? Our health is doomed without darkboxes!
Then there's some stuff about how evidence shows cell phones cause cancer. That evidence is quite debatable, but let's just grant it as true. Cell phones do not use radio waves. So it isn't even relevant. If only these people would go check out a book from their library (by attendant, of course) and read up a bit on radiation, they might learn something before spouting their OMG WE'RE GOING TO DIE all over us.
Also, those who had hoped to fight wireless corporations cannot do any longer. Mr. George W. Bush signed a law on Feb. 18 according to which we the people cannot file class action lawsuits against corporations.
Well, there you go. Now you have a good idea of how logical and sensible this letter was. We still can file class action lawsuits, but we actually need to have a case, now. The horror.
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Another midwesterner speaks out
Shannon Timpe stole my lines. That's okay, though, because Timpe's name is still Timpe.
This is the latest in a long line of Daily Cal quotes that all basically state, “Everyone outside of California makes vast stereotypical generalizations about people.” The sad thing is that no one points out the irony of such statements.
I'm not sure which long line it is, but I have noticed that trend. But what about the irony of pointing out that no one points out the irony of statements?
The newspaper is deciding to stand up for the university and tell the cityfolk to shove off. Luckly, The Daily Cal remembers:
Bates’ role in this sordid little power play cannot be understated. As the lawsuit’s principal proponent, he stands to gain much publicity for his reelection campaign. The man has a veritable obsession with positive coverage—who can forget his juvenile theft of thousands of Daily Cal issues when it endorsed his opponent?
Deana Sobel returns with an editorial cartoon about... uh... those gate things in Central Park. I've heard a lot about them, and I don't quite know why. It's some art thing. Over in New York. What does it have to do with us?
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U.C. Have you Heard? SWEATSHOP LABOR is ABSURD
Actually, it makes perfect sense. People like doing things cheaply. Some people live in places where doing things for low wages is better than doing nothing at all. Heck, a lack of sweatshop labor would be absurd.
“UC just doesn’t get it,” said Chris Niedt, a union supporter who spoke at the protest. “When it comes to fair wages they don’t get it, when it comes to benefits they don’t get it, and now when it comes to the Code of Conduct they don’t get it.”
Yet for some reason, you keep begging them for things. Maybe you're the one who doesn't get it.
. . .
Are you kidding me?
News in Brief number 2:
A revamped version of Berkeley High School’s controversial Academic Choice program gained approval from the Berkeley school board last week.
The revised program will have new diversity regulations requiring the ethnic makeup of the program’s participants to match that of the entire high school. The program must also have the support of the high school’s African American Studies Department.
Just to remind readers, Academic Choice is Berkeley High's controversial program. It's controversial because it offers advanced courses, so that students who want to use their high school time to prepare for the future have that option. But they no longer have that option, because, if I'm reading this correctly, if not enough black students want to be part of Academic Choice, then they'll have to turn away white students who are interested in order to maintain the ethnic makeup of the school.
Further, it needs the support of the African American Studies department. Dude, WTF? Why does this particular department get veto power? Let's also say that the African American Studies department needs the approval of the English department, just for fun. Since the current AAS dude supports the program, it seems likely this is just a "Okay, we'll put it in place, but if you ever change your mind, just let us know so we can fold really, really fast."
Boardmember Terry Doran, who abstained from voting on the program, said he was still uncertain about how the program would benefit all students, not just the most advanced.
Uh, not everything needs to benefit everybody. For instance, your AAS program probably doesn't benefit all students either. If you have any special services for the disabled, those don't benefit all students. You'd better get rid of them.
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Did I mention people are stupid?
A touching story, about some girl who had some problem but doesn't have that problem anymore so she can now eat real food, instead of being fed through a stomach tube. So, how does Oaklander Josh Miner respond?
However, though I'd never begrudge anyone (and certainly not a little girl who has gone through what Tilly has) a treat from time to time, the foods that were highlighted in the story -- a Snickers bar, a breakfast sandwich and hash browns from Jack in the Box, ice cream and a Denny's breakfast -- illustrate an important point in the effort to prevent obesity among children.
Some people just won't be happy until they suck all the joy out of everyone's life.
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Thursday, February 24, 2005
Old ladies go crazy
Haha! Women in Congress. What idiot thought that one up?
In what is likely to be a recurring theme of Democratic attack, Pelosi repeatedly characterized the Bush plan as "a tax on our children''...
Oh, we don't want that. The current Social Security plan is much better, because it doesn't involve taxing... wait, no, that doesn't make sense.
"Democrats are understanding now ... that it is part of a massive (conservative) operation that they have,'' she said in response to a question about the influence of the conservative media on the subject.
Watch this. "Democrats now understand... that it is part of a massive (conservative) operation." Whoa! How did I do that? What, pray tell, would a "massive operation that they don't have" entail? When our government officials throw words and clauses around willy nilly when they're entirely unnecessary, is it any wonder we end up with ginormous waste?
. . .
Working for a newspaper makes you stupid
That's the only explanation I could come up with to explain this Joan Ryan column in the Chron.
Essentially, it's the story of an illegal immigrant who is very inconvenienced by the fact that she's an illegal immigrant. Plus some fluff to make you feel sorry for her. The thesis seems to be:
Illegal immigrant laws are cool and all, except when we feel like not applying them.
Seriously. Read through it and try to find a good reason why this old lady deserves an exception.
. . .
OMG military recruiters hate teh gays! Nevermind that the policy being protested was put in place by Congress.
The protest, prompted by the presence of a Marine Corps recruiter at the Career Center’s Internship and Summer Job Fair outside the Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union, attracted some 20 students waving signs and chanting, “Don’t ask, don’t tell, take this war and go to hell.”
What, you're anti-war now? Come on, dudes, if you oppose the anti-gay policies, then oppose the anti-gay policies. Don't stick your anti-war whining in here. When you confound protests, it gets really hard to deal with demands. No one enjoys doing Fourier transforms, why do you think we should do the political equivalent?
“Even if you don’t say it outright, if it’s even felt, you get harassed. It’s constantly reinforced that homosexuality is not natural,” said sophomore Anna Schlotz, a coalition member. “You wouldn’t be able to hide your race or religion, so why should you have to hide your sexual orientation?”
Uh, you do know that none of that would change even if gays were allowed to be openly gay in the military. Do you think that just because it becomes allowed, fellow soldiers won't harass gays? And it's not tough to hide many religions.
“Queer issues are very important to this campus,” Schlotz said. “This campus wouldn’t stand for the KKK being on campus because it’s openly racist. Likewise, the military is just as openly homophobic.”
Wow. Just wow.
. . .
Need more diversity!
It's really those damn foreigners' fault. Engineering wants more urms.
“We are 100 percent students of color in this district,” said Joe Frantz, director of curriculum and instruction for the Emeryville Unified School District. “And for these students, mathematics and science is the gatekeeper.”
Frantz said these districts face specific and unique difficulties. He pointed to the fact that 84 percent of black algebra students in the Oakland Unified School District scored below or far below basic state proficiency levels. Three percent met this standard.
Hmm. So, 84% were below the standard, while 3% met it. And 17% neither met the standard nor failed to meet the standard. Um. Well. I think I see where the weakness in math comes from.
. . .
Dance Marathon a fun way to fight AIDS. Now we just have a race between people fighting AIDS in a fun manner, and people getting AIDS in another fun manner. Who'll win?
We need Moralers, people who commit to a three-hour shift to serve as a boost of energy to help the dancers make it through.
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Look at us! We're on the front page of the Boston Globe website! Whining is fun.
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Wednesday, February 23, 2005
External this Veep
CalSERVEr Liz Hall, Veep of external affairs, looks really, really creepy. I can't quite put my finger on it, but her picture just creeps me out.
Most important lesson I’ve learned from college so far: That nothing in this world is as simple as one might like it to be, and to embrace that complexity and explore it.
Wow. I mean, how fluffy can you get? Some things really are as simple as I want them to be, too.
Favorite Foods: Coffee, really grainy wheat bread, anything chocolate
Favorite Colors: Pink and green
Look at that. She can't even pick favorites. Is this the kind of indecisive leadership you want? Vote for... uh...
Song of the moment: “Crazy, Crazy, Crazy” by Michael Franti
Unless this thing is update by the minute, that must be one hell of a long song.
. . .
Finally, I have something to say about a RebC column.
It’s high time you learned how to take advantage of this university. (And by “take advantage of” I don’t mean getting it crunked on blended margaritas and then unstealthily unhooking its bra as it dozes off on your couch. Though that’s cool too.)
OMG! Rebecca just said date rape was "cool"! Where's TBTN?
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Studies are important. People who already know the answer they want to get commission studies to give them that answer. Therefore, it is very important for us to look at studies. Two examples today.
Think of the children! It used to be that "OMG children are getting hurt" was considered justification for trying to fix things. Those days are over.
The first study also concluded exposure to traffic pollution disproportionately affects racial minorities and low-income students, said report co-author Bart Ostro.
“There does seem to be an environmental justice factor,” he said.
Nevermind what "environmental justice factor" means. Apparently, if problems affected children of all races equally, we wouldn't need to be taking action.
Casinos bad! So say the people whose business would be hurt by the casino.
Many East Bay communities fear the slot machines will prey on people who can least afford to gamble.
Oops, it wasn't bad before, when it hurt everyone, but now it hurts poor people more, so it's time to take action!
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Standardized testing is good for determining potential. It's not good for determining accomplishment. Honestly, what kind of college-level testing could you possibly do? Since college students study such a vast variety of things, and study in a very targetted approach, the shared knowledge body among college students is no different from that of high schoolers (which is why the GRE is no different from the SAT). But, like I've said before, people hate people our age.
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Tuesday, February 22, 2005
I never read the ASUC ad in the Daily Cal. Except today. Thank goodness, because there's a lot of funny there.
First, the two missing senators from the ASUCies have their goals up.
Natasha Dandavati, despite having been in the ASUC since last semester, still has no picture, even though newcomer Betty Duong already does. This leads me to the obvious conclusion, that Dandavati is an alien, a robot, or a claymation character. Since she's from the International and Out of State Students party, it's obvious that she'd have goals tuned towards international and out-of-state students like:
Educate on issues of underrepresented groups
Increase political awareness
Wait a second, those have nothing to do with international and out-of-state students. Oh, well, I guess you could argue that CalSERVE doesn't serve anyone, Student Action does nothing, and APPLE-Engineering doesn't taste anything like an engineered apple.
Betty Duong has goals that you need to sit down to read. She wants a Southeast Asian Commencement, because clearly Southeast Asians are totally different from the rest of us and need to be properly segregated so we don't mistake them from normal graduates and accidentally treat them as qualified. She also wants a "Culturally Competent Senate," which means... uh... um...
Also mentioned is SB 33, a bill in support of "The Safeguard Student Health Fee and Referendum," which I've mentioned before as being a really bad idea. Of course, no senator has the balls to actually stand up for student interests when an opportunity to look warm and fuzzy on our dime shows up, so I expect it to pass handily. Also, that's a funny name. It should be called the "Extra fee to make Temina Madon feel good about herself," because that's all it's going to accomplish.
Did you know Dena Takruri will fight for more left-handed desks? Since we know left-handers are evil, this means Takruri plans on making the campus more evil-friendly. Is this the kind of person we want in office?
. . .
Lecturer Kathryn A. Klar whines about how administrators get paid more than janitors.
Everyone who does vital work around here should be treated right.
Here is the basic flaw in all of these union whines. The university does not pay the work, it pays the workers. That is, while the work is vital, the workers who do it are not. It's tough to get a quality football coach, an able administrator, or a talented faculty member. You can pick anyone off the street to do most "clerical, technical, library, and service" jobs.
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I haven't done a letter sprint lately, because there just haven't been enough letters to even get started. But it looks like, website management aside, the opinion section is really looking up. Here we go!
Scott Baker provides exactly the kind of response Snehal and Co. want.
Hiraa Khan takes a break from conquering and insists that the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights that restricts the actions of government also applies to student groups holding events. Yes. Khan really did say that not allowing people to bring their signs to a speech by some dude is prohibited by the U.S. Constitution.
Yvette writes something, but it's funny enough without comment.
Evan Scott Levine writes a parody of the hyperventilation that accompanied the toppling of some tree somewhere. However, a good parody usually parodies something that's actually happening, and that doesn't seem to be the case here. Did someone complain?
Janice Thomas whines about our stadium. I don't watch football, but I support stadium expansion and improvement specifically to piss these people off.
Making the existing stadium attractive to a Class I football fans is challenge enough; not destroying the neighborhood environs is the message without a medium but underlying everything.
Uh... okay... what she said.
. . .
Error. I think you missed a spot, reporter-lady.
Contributing artist Chau Nguyen’s painting, entitled “It’s All Black and White,” examined gender identity within personal relationships.
Nguyen’s piece, which portrayed swirls of black and white with a red crane perched on the painting, was based on a Japanese legend that says if one folds 1,000 cranes, one can make a wish for change, she said.
“In relationships, for instance, you think it’s all black and white, but then there’s the red crane,” said Nguyen, a junior majoring in art. “The wish is that people can see beyond the black and white.”
God forbid you get a red crane. Or maybe red cranes are a good thing. Why are the cranes black and white? What does this have to do with folding 1,000 cranes?
. . .
Continuing the Daily Cal's proud tradition of website excellence, today's letters to the editor section can be found in the news section online. I suppose it is news, since they actually published five letters, which is unheard of nowadays. More on that later. First, though, there's some important news:
Ever have one of those times when you were afraid some evil guy with nefarious intentions might intercept your instant message and discover that you said "OMG, wuzzup, duuuude!" to your pal? Worry no more! Instant messaging encryption is here!
Graduate student David Molnar knows firsthand how insecure instant messaging can be.
Molnar remembers when a friend would configure his laptop as a wireless network access point in cafes, eavesdropping on the conversations of women who connected to it—material he could use in conversations that led to first dates.
I wonder if any of those chicks are reading this. Clearly, none of those first dates led anywhere, or he probably wouldn't be admitting it. I wonder how The Daily Cal finds these people, though. I guess someone at the office went on one of those dates with Molnar.
The program is primarily intended for those “ordinary people having day-to-day conversations” who want to eliminate the possibility of someone listening in and engaging in malicious activities like stealing passwords, [Berkeley grad student Nikita Borisov] said.
You know, if you're sending your passwords to your friends, I think your security is in poor hands regardless of whether someone is listening in or not.
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Monday, February 21, 2005
The ASUC is the only autonomous student government in the country. It has broad potential and power, advocating state- and nation-wide on behalf of students and controlling a $20 million commercial operation. The Office of the President serves as a direct voice of the student body and is responsible for developing campus-wide projects and implementing student-friendly policies that will improve the quality of your time at Cal.
I count five inaccuracies in that paragraph alone.
Let's see how well he's accomplished his goals:
1. Make ASUC a real, positive influence and resource in Cal students' daily lives that students can see and recognize
Nope, hasn't done that.
2. Inspire students to become active themselves in whatever they find a passion about.
I suppose it's possible that he's done that, but I kind of doubt it.
3. Tirelessly put on events to bring together community and advocate for student-friendly policies so that everyone will be able to look back at their college experience with nothing but fondness.
What I do in your free time: Play guitar and sing, pole vault
Dammit, get out of my free time!
. . .
Sunday, February 20, 2005
Finally, it's a weekday off. I can catch up on some of that business that's been piling up because I haven't had time to do it.
Unfortunately, everyone I have business with also has the day off. Perhaps we ought to consider staggered national holidays. Like, President's Day Parts I and II, where, say, all the clerical and administrative workers get the day off for Part I, and then the students and professors get the day off for Part II.
Sheesh, I'm bored.
. . .
Just a legal question which popped up over on the Patriot Blog. Quoting passages from stories in newspapers and such and then whining about them seems to be considered fair use. But what about World and Us? The structure of many posts is:
Whining/"interpretation" of some story somewhere, with link.
Entire text of quoted story in body of post.
One might wonder why they put the story they refer to in the body of their blog post, instead of just settling for the link they provide. One might further wonder whether such a thing is legal or ethical, especially when the quoted story is on a website which sells ads.
Also, I couldn't let these quotes slip:
"Interpretation" from Lubna Takruri: Realizing the need to be realistic, European countries are going to great measures to restore the relationship with the scary yet stupid superpower they admit they will be stuck with for four more years.
From the story: "I don't think Bush is any more popular then he was before, but people, like politicians, are realistic," said Charles Grant, director of the London-based Center for European Reform.
Which claims two things worth noting: One, politicians aren't people, and two, politicians are realistic.
. . .
Saturday, February 19, 2005
It's okay to not know how to write English goodly. But if that's the case, you should at least be aware of it and find someone who does know, because that person can then edit what you say into English.
. . .
Friday, February 18, 2005
It's time for the first annual ASUCies! It's this time of year when Beetle Beat examines the senators from the past year and checks out their goals, according to the probably unreliable information on the ASUC.org website. Disqualified from competition this year are new senator "Natasha Dandavati" and other senator "Betty Duong," because they don't have profiles, and I don't feel like doing research. Without further ado:
The Best Name
Ben Narodick, narrowly beating out Billy Wang. Get it? "Narrowly"? Ha!
The Picture Awards
Angle of Incidence Award
Robert Shen, for facing the camera the least of the eighteen competitors.
Adrienne Leong, but of course that totally depends on an individual's taste. I encourage readers to pick their own winner for this award.
Brent Kastenbaum, for having the most minimal smile.
Is that a smile? Award
Igor Tregub, for the most unnatural smile.
Billy Wang, for trying too hard.
Peter Chung, for looking the most like he knows he's better than you.
The Goal Awards
Chris Abad, for the shortest goal list (by character count).
Billy Wang, for the longest goal list (by number of goals. Dude, wtf?)
This one would've been an all-way tie, with everyone failing their goals completely. This is further compounded by the fact that some goals are so ridiculously vague, to call them successes or failures is not even meaningful. So the award goes to Jason Dixson, for having a concrete goal (preserving the drop deadline) and failing spectacularly at it (i.e. failing badly enough that I notice).
Brent Kastenbaum, for having his entire goal portfolio promote increasing.
Jerico Lavarias, for his goal of "Enhancing Berkeley student experience socially and academically."
Lakshmi Sridaran, for planning on "Promoting unity among Asian American groups to adopt politically-charged agenda," as if she has the right to declare the agenda for all Asian-Americans.
Norena Limon, for only having goals for her constituency, and not for the student body in general.
Robert Shen, for having the most indecipherable goal: "Integration of student/library sciences and resources."
Dena Takruri, for planning on "Establishing prayer space for students on campus" when such space already exists.
The Profile Awards (Note that most senators are disqualified due to their profiles containing nothing more than their goals. Student Action really likes their profiles, though)
Jerico Lavarias, for obvious reasons.
Sound Byte Award
Manuel Buenrostro for "It is not our job as a student government to decide where the campus ideology lies; instead it is our job to create an environment where students can make these decisions for themselves."
Anil Daryani, for the most nonsensical philosophy.
Non Sequitur Award
Manuel Buenrostro for the most irrelevant profile category (Favorite Color).
Dude WTF Award
Manuel Buenrostro for the most ridiculous profile category (Favorite Comedians).
Adjective Surplus Award
Jerico Lavarias, for proclaiming himself to be a "self-proclaimed die hard Cal Bear."
. . .
Silly senator goal of the day
Evan Bloom, apparently of the "Evan Bloom Party," who can be reached by phone at "Classics/Undecided," and who majors in hyphens, was interested in "Promoting unbiased political discussion opportunities," whatever that means.
. . .
What a Wang
Billy Wang has excuses!
When I discovered I wouldn’t be slated three weeks ago, I was shocked. I’d received the second-most votes out of everyone in my party (behind Jenn Chon), and we came from the same bases.
I'm no political scientist, but it seems to me that if you're second to someone who has the same base as you, that person you're second to is a much better choice, since picking you doesn't really add much. Same base, after all.
The reasons my party gave me were surprising. Although SA always said they never questioned my loyalty, I was confused. They told me, “Billy, people find you very creepy,” or “Nobody likes you.”
Haha. Oh, man, that's hilarious.
But I worked diligently at fixing these problems. I put what I learned from my first interview in the back of my mind, grew my hair out, became more concise and worked on my ability to motivate others.
Growing your hair out made you less creepy?
Are these really the kinds of people we want running the government and doing what is best for students?
Well, I dunno if we want a dude who ditches his party, either. We probably don't want a dude who goes through such effort to defend his decisions without explaining how it helps students. And we definitely don't want someone with such a funny name. Hehe. Wang.
. . .
Some guy who's never ever written an op-ed before, Andrew F. Adams, accuses Prez Bush of mass murder.
How NIMBY can you get?
Help the economy, support American Indians, and give people a good time—but keep it out of the city.
That's practically the definition.
Snehal and co. finally admit the obvious: They want the U.S. to lose in Iraq. I like how at the end they make up some pretense of caring about gays and lesbians.
Also, being deaf is an identity. That is, deaf people don't want to hear, says Elena M. Figueroa. Also, you're supposed to capitalize Deaf when referring to it as an identity, as we do with You. Wait, we don't do that with you. WTF are you talking about?
. . .
No, you're wrong
Calstuffer Andy Ratto has an interesting readers rep column, which makes the following claim:
The political stagnation occurring on campus is fueled by one key reason: The lack of a moderate voice to provide the leadership necessary to bring together a large enough coalition to make a difference. The Daily Californian has shirked this responsibility.
There are far too many worthwhile, compelling causes that are being ignored. Seeing the Daily Cal sit back and play a passive role as nothing is done is saddening. If its Senior Editorial Board cares enough to write about an issue, they should care enough to put their effort into improving that situation.
In some sense I agree. My suggestion, though, is just to ditch the editorials altogether. They add very little to the paper. Do you really want the paper to choose an agenda and "flood the zone with continuing, concentrated coverage"? You end up with the Daily Planet if you do that. Let the newspaper report the news, please. If they want to fight wars and such, it'd be nice if they did it seperately, so we could still read the news.
Curiously, in the same paper, an editorial criticizes the city government for their empty resolutions without action. Andy should get royalties.
. . .
Racism on a crowded campus
Stephen Small has a funny name. Also, he has funny ideas.
“Racism may be less visible, but it’s no less virulent,” said Small, who has chaired the department since last year.
Hmmm. I dunno. Seems that facing discrimination isn't quite as virulent as, say, being property, or not having your life protected by law. But then, I'm not black, so what do I know?
Small presented poll statistics showing that large percentages of whites do not want to live in areas populated by blacks and that whites believe blacks are lazier.
“In the face of such data, can we really believe that old-fashioned racism is on the decline?” Small asked. “It’s even worse than it was before.”
Oh, Lordy, that's terrible! After all, not wanting to live near blacks and thinking them lazy is much worse than forcing blacks to do what you tell them under penalty of torture and thinking them property. Much, much worse.
Senior Natasha Green, a student who attended the event, said the misconception that racism is a past problem also stems from California’s diversity and its tolerant atmosphere.
“California might as well be its own universe,” Green said. “Outside of California, the racial divisions are clear. America is more divided than ever.”
Something tells me Green hasn't spent much time living outside of California. Racial divisions are very clear in California. They are celebrated. Outside of California, no one gives a damn. Oh, yeah, remember that civil war thing? Or colonial times when different parts of America were under the control of different European powers, or maybe the natives? America may have been divided back then, but America is now more divided than ever. Absolutely.
What is it with race that makes people make such ridiculous overstatements?
. . .
That's a great excuse!
What's wrong with registering as a medicinal marijuana user?
But [attorney Joseph Elford] said because many medical marijuana users do not want to register for a card, the system is not a perfect fix.
“People are distrustful,” he said. “It’s a crime under federal law, and people don’t want to register.”
Yeah, I know how that goes. I prefer not to admit that I'm breaking the law, too. The governments really ought to accommodate that preference.
. . .
Them's expensive quarters!
Union whines! Yeah, that's news.
“We’re eligible for government assistance,” said Stephanie Dorton, a CUE member and a single mother of two. “I have to choose between paying my rent and doing my laundry.”
Wow, that's some expensive laundry.
“UC has repeatedly demonstrated that when it receives sufficient state salary funding, it is able to offer employees higher, more market-competitive wages,” said UC Spokesperson Noel Van Nyhuis in a statement.
How do you demonstrate a hypothetical?
. . .
Did I miss something
Clever government. A huge endowment for outreach! Why, we'll give all the revenue from this real estate over here to it. Oh, by the way...
State officials and legislators began considering the initiative a few months ago when they saw that the state’s real estate assets were not generating any revenue, Roth said.
Hmm... this stuff isn't making any money, let's give it to the university! And we'll pretend like we have some kind of plan to make it profitable, while we're at it.
. . .
The Patriot Blog went and started a war without me. I'm hurt.
. . .
Thursday, February 17, 2005
With ASUC elections coming up, let's make some use of this phantasmic ASUC.org site. Ridiculous promises and total failures from our beloved senate.
Billy Wang, who leads people on because he thinks leading people on is wrong, still shows up as Student Action. His profile demonstrates a tragic trend: Student Action Profiles are gigantic. Look at that. Ten goals! Favorite band!
But lemon chick Noerena Limon, of CalSERVE, has a much more interesting goal:
"Open and oversee multicultural center and ensure it maintains values/spirit/purpose of Ethnic Studies strike"
So, what would that be? Like, a "No food or drink" sign?
. . .
Good News Everyone
Today, you can find, on page 3 of The Daily Cal, some bragging about how it is the recipient of multiple awards in the California College Media Convention, including 1st in General Web Site Excellence. Yes, The Daily Cal's fantastic website, with its half-edited stories, omitted opinion pieces, and unexpected equals signs.
. . .
Laugh it up
Student Action loses its Wang. Well, technically, Student Action pre-empted Billy Wang's departure by giving him the boot. But check out Wang's whining:
Wang said his intention to disaffiliate was leaked to a Student Action leader, which Wang claims prompted the disaffiliation.
“They made a rash decision,” Wang said. “Even on Sunday, I had met with (Bret) to work on getting voters for the upcoming elections.”
Wang also said Student Action tried to silence his opinions and use him to advance the “greater good” of the party, often referred to as the “Student Action family.”
“I put a lot of thought into this. It wasn’t a decision I made rashly. The ‘family’ has been using me for the past two years,” Wang said. “I do not believe that supposed family and friends would lie to each other, lead each other on and hide things from each other.”
Hmm. So, Wang says SA acted rashly, but it appears that they were exactly right. In fact, while he complains about how "family and friends" shouldn't lead each other on, in the second paragraph I quote, it sounds like Wang was leading SA on, and was just pissed that they discovered it. Oh, you crazy ASUC folks. When will you ever learn?
. . .
Some dude says AffAct hurts black folks in elite law schools. Anyway, the funny is in the responses:
Boalt Hall School of Law professor Goodwin Liu, who published a rebuttal to Sander’s report in the California Bar Journal this month, said there is no direct correlation in the gap between law school entrance eligibility and law school grades.
“Entering credentials is not attributable to affirmative action,” Liu said. “Blacks would still be at the bottom and not the top even if there is no affirmative action. The study is missing an important statistical step that has nothing to do with affirmative action.”
In his article, Liu said attending a prestigious law school does have its benefits.
“(Students) enjoy substantial educational advantages, such as financial aid, support services and a culture of high achievement,” Liu wrote.
Boalt Hall student Maurice Rabb said Sander’s report is not an accurate portrayal of black law students.
“He’s really missing the point about merit,” said Rabb, a member of Law Students of African Descent. “He’s taking those numbers as the complete statement of black students’ qualifications.”
The law school environment could also affect performance, Rabb said.
“If there are only five blacks in the classroom, it is difficult for them. It’s a hostile environment,” Rabb said. “We should look into what are they going to do to make the students feel comfortable.”
Wow. Strong words. Mostly strong words that mean nothing. E.g.: What is the point about merit? Why should a school have to go out of its way to make particular people feel comfortable? WTF is a 'culture of high achievement'?
. . .
Another free ad
Hey, DC, not only are your columnists boring as hell, they're doing ads, now. It's about time to change horses in midstream, methinks.
. . .
Ah, the Globe. Says Peter Caswell:
IN HER COLUMN "Sliming American troops" (op ed, Feb. 14), Cathy Young ends with the statement that "mainstream journalists should resist the temptation" to view CNN news executive Eason Jordan "as the victim of a right-wing lynch mob." Yet she leaves out a salient fact. When asked to comment on Jordan, the prominent right-winger Ann Coulter said on TV, for all to see, that she wished that the army was targeting journalists. One can draw a couple of conclusions: Either it's OK to wish that the military is targeting journalists but not to say that they are, or it's OK to say whatever you want if you're a right-winger, but if you're not, you have to parse your words even in private.
Let's do the comparison. One dude accused people of murder without evidence. The other said it'd be nice if folks were murdering other folks. Now, while you may think they're morally equivable or whatever, one is slander, the other is not. Also, Ann Coulter is not exactly a "mainstream journalist."
. . .
Chroners are mad that reporter dudes have to tell the police stuff.
Brushes between reporters and the law aren't new. Dating back to the 1800s, newspapers have refused to name confidential sources for news stories when pressed by law enforcement. To the media, the reasoning is straightforward and convincing: If the press is forced to squeal, newsworthy tips will dry up. The new media's watchdog role vanishes.
Hmm... So, I hate to break it to you guys, but it's not the gov'ment's job to keep your role in place. Sure, the gov'ment frequently does such things (*cough* airlines *cough*), but saying "Hey, if we have to give you tips, we won't be able to do our job" isn't all that meaningful. Quit, then. Besides, the new media is watchdogging your ass, now. Just ask Eason Jordon.
. . .
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Run for the hills! Calstuff is reporting that what passes for "political intrigue" when it comes to ASUC elections is gearing up. Some dude ditching his party, some chick spreading rumors about running for prez, etc. I guess this stuff interests some folks. I usually just sit back and wait for the parties to pick their folks and come up with their idiotic platforms. "Oh, we'll totally reduce student fees. Well, last year we were just unlucky."
Oh, the prez chick is named Takruri, too. War by relation? Why not? Not that I was planning on supporting CalSERVE anyway, unless they slate some really hot chicks for once.
ASUC.org reports (Shock!) that one of Dena Takruri's goals this year was "Establishing prayer space for students on campus." Dude, WTF? Haven't you ever heard of a church? A mosque? A synagogue? Your own home? The middle of the sidewalk?
. . .
Oh, man, this story has a little of everything. Ineffective lobbying, idiotically empty words, and a guy named "Randy Parent." Yeah, that's what my parents were named about nine months before I was born.
. . .
Editorial from the Bruin:
But all journalists are supposed to abide by a code of ethics that strictly prohibits conflict of interest.
This coming from students at a newspaper which covers mostly student issues. Maybe you ought to modify that "strictly," eh?
. . .
So, something about a carnival, and education, and... uh... something. You figure it out. Apparently going to war gets me recognized as someone caring deeply about education. Arafat's Peace Prize is making more sense...
. . .
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
World and Us is now posting their stories in foreign languages. Whether this is a reasonable journalistic tactic is not my concern. I will be content to declare victory when World and Us writes none of its material in English.
. . .
Oh, those crazy scientists
Engineers for a Sustainable Environment! What a riot. Any good engineer should be able to apply the most basic ideas of thermodynamics to understand that a "sustainable environment" is physically impossible.
The story is about a project to discover a cause for increasing nitrogen levels at Lake Merritt. Of course, reading the story suggests to me that although they looked, they failed to find the source. Congratulations on failure!
UC Berkeley chapter President Ashley Murray, who manages a water-filtration project to benefit a slum in Bombay, India, said the volunteers are passionate about doing work in undeserved communities worldwide and “like to combine a love for science with improving human welfare.”
. . .
Finally, some recognition
It's about time. Finally, the UN ambassador to Tuvalu has praised Berkeley for its city resolution in support of the Kyoto treaty. Thanks, UN ambassador to Tuvalu! With your support, it's only a matter of time before all cities vote for Kyoto.
. . .
So, would you like to elaborate?
Editor -- No matter what any of us think about Ward Connerly's legacy as a UC regent (Open Forum, Feb. 14), the fact remains that there are fewer African American and Latino students enrolled in the university than when I was a Berkeley undergraduate more than 30 years ago. This is bad policy, bad business and bad democracy, any way you look at it.
It is bad for the students who don't get in and bad for the ones who do. It is a sign of societal collapse and a fine example of a continuing class struggle that no one really wants to admit exists, particularly those whose sons and daughters attend UC.
As is the case with so many trends in public life today, it is one that invites dishonor of our state and our country. The irony is that qualified minority student applications receive more complete assessments at private universities such as Harvard, Stanford and the University of Southern California than at UC. So much for our California heritage, the Master Plan for Education and the institutions supported by taxpaying citizens of all backgrounds.
As for Connerly, thanks a bunch.
So, when you say things, especially like those in that second paragraph, it's often nice to, you know, elucidate a tad. A sign of societal collapse, eh?
. . .
Monday, February 14, 2005
Valentine's Day means "human side" stories.
UC Berkeley alumna Kathy Kim is buying flowers to decorate her apartment-just in case.
In the event that Kim's boyfriend forgets to surprise her with red roses for Valentine's Day, Moe, owner of Moe's Flowers at 2450 Durant Ave., has things covered for Kim-she will have red tulips instead.
You know, if you're expecting it, it's not really a surprise. And seriously, is it that important that you have flowers on Valentine's Day? It's clearly not the thought that counts for Kim.
. . .
Just don't do it.
The student made a damn good decision in requesting to remain anonymous, because The Daily Cal decided that instead of a crime report, they'd right some trash novel material, including way more detail than we needed to know. But dude. Internet dating? Maybe you should've made a good decision on that one, too.
. . .
Finally! The tsunami victims are safe!
5k run for tsunami victims! They raised an amazing $700! That's enough to buy dinner for a UN stooge! Finally, the lives that have been destroyed will be restored.
The top three males and three females received a one-month paid membership to 24 Hour Fitness in addition to other gift certificates that were donated by local businesses in the community.
Wouldn't it make more sense to give those memberships to the bottom three males and females? Sounds like the ones at the top are fit enough as is.
But some students said that they did not know about the prizes and participated in the run because it was a good chance to get some exercise and help the relief effort at the same time.
"I probably would have done it no matter what the cause was," said freshman Brittany English. "I wanted to see if I could pull it off in a race situation."
Uh... so, when you say "some students said this" and then proceed to quote a student, it doesn't help when that student doesn't say "this." It sounds like English just wanted the competition. In a charity run.
. . .
Objective with an objective
Jane Yang, while writing a news story:
Logan and his partner of nearly 20 years, Kevin Woodward, were among the more than 2,000 gay and lesbian couples who flocked to San Francisco City Hall Feb. 12, 2004, when Newsom issued marriage licenses in an effort to protect the equal rights of citizens under the California Constitution.
Hmm. It totally looked like a publicity stunt to me. Either way, don't you think that's something that should be left up to the reader to decide, rather than throw it in as reported fact?
. . .
The Daily Cal continues their excellence in website management. Today, none of the story links work. I'll just put them in and assume they'll be fixed eventually.
. . .
Sunday, February 13, 2005
More careful analysis
So, what do those crazy Americans think of America?
The recent election of Howard Dean as DNC chair, is a clear sign that the best defense the Bush administration can have against the anti-war movement, is showings things are going better in Iraq and making the American people "forget" the cost of the invasion.
While I'm open to explanations for how those two ideas are connected, it doesn't seem quite "clear." While the idea that success makes you popular when you're a leader is quite true, I'd hope one wouldn't need Howard Dean's election to conclude that. In any case, the Bush administration does not need to defend itself against the anti-war movement. The best defense against it is the anti-war movement membership, which succeeds with flying colors when it comes to pissing everyone else off.
. . .
More critical analysis from the Berkeley journalism department:
Perceptions of the U.S. differ between Americans and foreigners.
OMG! Can you believe that? We see ourselves differently than other people do! Stop the presses! Call your local paper! Issue a national alert!
. . .
Saturday, February 12, 2005
Oh, no! Shocking!
Can you believe it? HIV is dangerous! This is front page news!
Health experts are warning people not to have unprotected sex with folks with HIV, which is an amendment from the old policy of... uh...
. . .
Friday, February 11, 2005
Slow men at work
Quote of the day, Keith Carson, president of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors:
"We may need to begin the process of raising a red flag."
How many steps are there to this solution?
"may": must decide if we need to begin etc.
"need": must decide to do what we need
"begin": must continue
"process": must do all kinds of crap
"raising a red flag": must still decide to actually do something
. . .
The fight continues
David Orland continues the righteous war against World and Us, explaining in more detail our demands that they either follow their stated mission, or admit that they will not. He also says something in French.
. . .
Ben Narodick has an op-ed in today's Daily Cal about censorship. Coincidentally, it doesn't show up on the Daily Cal's website.
This week [the ASUC Senate] nearly unanimously approved a bill calling for the firing of employees associated with the airing of the HOT 97 "Tsunami Song" in New York, a satire utilizing racially insensitive terms and statements to praise the tsunami that struck nations bordering the Indian Ocean in December.
I hope this is some kind of joke. Seriously, is the ASUC asking for companies across the country to fire individual employees now? Well, I guess that's to be expected, since the ASUC has solved all the problems facing students, after all.
. . .
The DC mentions it, but The Chron had an interesting article about it yesterday, which I can't find on its website for some reason. The United Way gave SF a great grade for youth violence prevention, not because it actually prevents youth violence (they ranked almost last in most categories), but because they had the most programs. Alameda is in a similar situation. It's nice to have such an illustrated example of the idea of "throwing money at a problem." Sadly, here's the solution suggested:
“I think that the county government and private investors need to invest more resources in the community if they expect to see a drop in these numbers,” said Klein.
Throwing money at the problem didn't help. The solution? Throw more money at the problem!
. . .
Need a fast 15 grand?
The senate has folded! They'll be paying DAAP money. Yay! Here is Beetle's five-step plan to free money:
Step 1) Run for ASUC office
Step 2) Break some rules and get disqualified
Step 3) Whine about free speech or something and sue
Step 4) Wait for the ASUC to fold
Step 5) Relax. It was so easy you can take a vacation for step 5
“It is important that we have the bylaws changed to guarantee that student candidates have the same rights as (other students),” [Yvette Felarca] said. “We still have fewer rights, and they’re compromised by virtue of running for office.”
Uh, why should you have the same rights? Do students normally have the right to badger judicial councils? Do students not running for office even face situations similar to yours? WTF are you talking about?
“It’s extortion, pure and simple. They are holding the sanctity of the ASUC hostage,” said former Judicial Council Chair Mike Davis, who was chair of the council that disqualified the party. “Every student on this campus should be outraged at what they are doing.”
. . .
Pass the reefer
It looks like everyone at the ASUC was high, last news cycle.
Many senators who initially opposed Gregg’s reappointment threw their support at him Wednesday, saying their original concerns had been addressed since he was last up for the position.
Robert Gregg dodged the support senators were throwing at him, but failed to dodge a rotten banana.
“[Mike Davis] would follow every word of law,” Gregg said. “I want to look at the consequences and look at justice and fairness. I am more of a compromise maker.”
Yeah, we don't want our judicial system following the law. Laws are there to be compromised for personal benefit, after all.
The senate also approved a newcomer to the council—sophomore Marisa Cuevas, a member of the Latino Pre-Law Society and the RAZA Recruitment and Retention center.
“I want to represent minorities that aren’t on the council. There aren’t any Latino women on the council,” Cuevas said. “With that, I can interpret the (ASUC) Constitution in a way that other people couldn’t. I think that is a voice that is needed to get more representation.”
Uh... So, the constitution is written in standard English. Apparently, when Latino women look at standard English, it says something else.
. . .
Don't know your tech?
The library wants to use RFID for checkout. Neato!
“As radio-frequency devices proliferate, we will be creating an infrastructure that makes it easy to track people by their things,” [nonprofit lawyer Lee Tien] said. “You might not think radio-frequency identification in Berkeley is a problem, but what happens when it becomes pervasive? It’s a form of privacy pollution.”
The range of an RFID transmitter is a few feet, at most. But dude, if you're withing a few feet of the receiver at the library, they'll totally know exactly where you are! Your privacy asplode!
. . .
ASUC Veep Rocky Gade isn't a student! His defense?
“I’m a student. I am taking three science classes on campus. I get up at 8 a.m. for class every morning,” Gade said. “I cook Top Ramen every night. I study at the library.”
Wow! Three classes! That's awesome! No normal students take more than three classes. Really.
. . .
No! Too happy!
More from the stop being happy department: Buddhism! As you might expect, most American Buddhist converts actually haven't the foggiest idea what Buddhism means. It was "trendy." Now, a conference is being held so that people will learn that the way they've been doing that Buddha thing is totally wrong.
Of course, real Buddhism actually sucks and is boring, while American Buddhism is all about doing whatever the hell you want to. The sad thing is that people needed some weird concept of "Buddhism" in order to do what they wanted to. It's this silly attitude which sends people "searching for their roots" or "exploring other cultures," because people just aren't comfortable with developing their own outlook on life. They need someone else to do the same thing. How pathetic.
. . .
Thursday, February 10, 2005
We interrupt this war to bring you...
Some formatting details. I fiddled with some options so now I, too, am stuck with the whole "each post gets its own page" thingie. So, now, the date and time link still sends you to the monthly archive page, while the pound sign sends you to the post's page. Pick whichever you want to use, if you ever need such things. Because I'm pro-choice.
. . .
War war war!
Labna Takruri of the blasphemous World and Us has attempted to strike at the heart of our uprising by writing an e-mail of complaint. I'd love to publish it here, but it's really, really, really long. I'll just excerpt out of context and respond.
The outright lie of even the salutation should be enough to dismiss this creature from our minds. There is, I gather, nothing about me that Takruri finds dear.
What exactly is the point of your flame war upon an experimental blog that comes out of an academic setting? In your 'war' post you overtly state your intent of an unnecessary warpath. Why?
Because, unlike certain enemies, I believe in honesty. Technically, I never said the warpath was unnecessary. If you think I'm just being finicky, it is only a defense in response to equally technical defenses of Takruri's comments. Further, Takruri callously tosses around words like "flame war" which have real meanings. Flame wars occur in online forums, and the suffering of those innocents unfortunately caught in flame wars is cheapened by Takruri's nonchalant use of the term in blog warfare.
Blogs escape any definition or single purpose and are dynamic and individual ways to approach topical materials. When I refer to an article I find, I say what I read into it. I have license to do so, doesn't matter if I'm right or wrong or how you or others see it.
Indeed it doesn't. As I have license to declare a jihad against World and Us's blasphemy. This foolish notion of total acceptance only furthers our decline towards a decadent LiveJournal community.
I also was not "whining" about what the Cal Patriots wrote at all - just stating it.
Whines are statements. Stating something is often a form of whining, as this post demostrates. Further, "the Cal Patriots" is a poor designation, and continues to demean and taunt various California football fans who had no team to cheer for this season. It is the duty of all of us bloggers to protect our fellow statesmen and stateswomen from Takruri's derision.
How can you rant about your problems with the way I state or interpret things when your interpretation is all wrong?
I respond: How can you rant about your problems with the way I state or interpret things when your interpretation is all wrong?
I don't have any agenda involving making the world look like it hates the United States. What would I gain by doing so?
Come, now, this is academia. We aren't into doing things for personal gain. What do I have to gain by defending poor flame war victims, despondent football fans, and the local blogsphere? Nothing.
Not only that, but your wishes of "jihad" and silencing the blog go beyond any ethical line-crossing our blog may have committed in your view. You are suddenly the master and keeper of local blogging and you can decide what is and is not acceptable?
And does "worldandus" have all of Berkeley's cyberspace in our evil clutches because of the topic on which we choose to blog? And you must free them from us? I hardly think there is such constriction upon how many blogs there can be within a geographical space and you need to eliminate us for everyone else to exist.
Now the enemy is merely trying to trivialize our cause. A blogsphere is not a physical space. It is a concept. It is a group of blogs tied together by a topic and by an approach to that topic. World and Us has no place in this Berkeley blogsphere. It is tainted. For it to now try to bring its taint into our blogsphere, we are left with no choice but to fight for our way of life.
Specifically my quote: "Indeed, here is another example of the conservative American right tooting the horn of so-called 'anti-Americanism." What is there about this to disagree with? Bill O'Reilly and Fox News made a WHOLE PROGRAM about anti-americanism. So, then, my comments were not inaccurate. From where were the words anti-americanism emanating in this particular instance? From Fox News. So how was I wrong? I wasn't - just calling it like I see it, with some of my own personal spice.
Technical accuracy does not justify all tones, especially in the context of academic discourse. By dismissing anti-Americanism as "so-called," by referring to it as something invented by some fringe group, "the conservative American right" (more adjectives implies more fringiness), comments such as this put a damper on free academic discourse. Stop, and consider what other words could have been used, and what other tones could be used, while still giving the same amount of information.
And to say that that this mistake (impopular) will warrant some punishment upon us if we ever mock Bush's malapropisms is further testament to your unnecessarily malicious intentions.
I don't remember that one. Perhaps she is referring to the comment by Apeneck Sweeney, a fellow believer. Her refusal to distinguish between various critics is just more evidence of the infidel's attempt to dehumanize us. We must not stand for it. We must fight such disrespect.
What I'd really like to know is why malice must be involved when your efforts could be diverted to constructive criticism or even support for this blog's immenent growth.
We have no desire to promote the growth of such vile, victim-demeaning entities. It must be dismantled for a new, truer, more just entity to rise in its place.
There was also some complaining about how I mocked Najla Benmbarek for her poor English, but the last line of Takruri's e-mail was (after the sig):
“Let each man exercise the art he knows" --Aristophanes
It probably has some real meaning, but I feel like interpreting it to mean don't do things when you don't know what you're doing, because that's most convenient for my point.
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"Lunar New Year: Celebrating the New Year in New Ways": Story about people celebrating the New Year in traditional (i.e. old) ways.
On welfare reduction:
This year, [Sylvia Darensburg] plans to fight for the same cause while sending one message to the governor: “Don’t you dare balance the budget on the backs of me and my children.”
That's an interesting way to look at not receiving as large of a government handout.
Speaking out is what Darensburg and other students plan to do. Last year, she participated in a march on Sacramento to protest a proposed 30 percent cut in CalWORKs funding.
Wow... maybe you should've been, like, working during that time. You get more money that way.
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The Chron complains about legislation outlawing low-riding pants. Yeah, it's silly, but The Chron calls it "nanny state" behavior, which it is not. Even stranger, though, is The Chron, of all entities, complaining about "nanny state" behavior.
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Wednesday, February 09, 2005
War number 2
Having just started a war, the only reasonable thing to do is to start another one. This time, though, the topic is quite serious.
Temina Madon has been pushing for a health fee on all students. Info here, I guess. Here are seven reasons why we should be concerned:
1) It costs money. Duh.
2) The referendum process is seriously screwed up, if I'm reading the article right.
For the fee to pass, 20 percent of students need to vote, and a simple majority of voters needs to be in favor of the increase.
If that is accurate, this means that if 18 percent of students vote for the fee, and nobody votes against it, it will not pass. However, if 18 percent of students vote for the fee, and 17 percent of students vote against it, it will pass. The main consequence of this is that if you are opposed to this fee like a reasonable person, by voting against the fee, you are taking the risk that you are going to cause its passage. This is a major flaw of the referendum process itself, though, and needs to be addressed seperately.
3) It is highly unlikely to actually boost health services. Like all voter-approved monetary allocations, standard procedure for administrations is to just move "discretionary money" out of the target service and let the fees fill the hole.
4) There isn't much benefit for us. Sure, community health sounds good, but it doesn't really mean much. The only impact we are likely to see is paying an extra $43.50 each semester.
5) On principle, allowing such referenda to pass supports ridiculous claims such as this one:
The referendum is essential to student health services because it preserves student control to directly improve their own services, Madon said.
To recap, only 10%+1 of students need approve of this fee for the rest of us to have to pay it. Further, those who wish to oppose this fee are discouraged from voting on the possibility that their vote will cause the fee to pass. There is no student control.
6) On further principle, those who oppose such fees are traditionally silenced. Note that the Daily Cal article has no mention of any opposing viewpoints. Anyone who does try to oppose it will be painted with the "You don't care about other people's health, you're just selfish and want money" brush.
7) On even further principle, this proposal has every appearance of a personal crusade, and for us to be cheated out of fifty bucks a semester just so someone can feel good about herself is a travesty. I hate to be callous about this, but when one starts trying to take money, my sympathy for feelings becomes quite minimal.
So stand up and oppose this proposal in whatever way you can.
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Remember, kids, always admit your crimes in newspapers, from border-hopping to copyright infringement.
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Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Najla Benmbarek reports that a "Poll shows Bush impopular."
The poll, realized in december 2004 by Emnid in Germany, Sofres in France and Leger Marketing in the U.S, reveals that 65% of French people and 57% of Germans think the U.S president shouldn't have a role in the world affairs. However, 80% of the Americans think he should have an active role. Obviously, a complete difference of perception...
But not obvious enough for you to avoid pointing it out, I see. I hope that's not what passes for "critical analysis" in your class, Mr. Pisani.
Update: They've corrected the 'error,' but the truth shall never change.
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We haven't gone on a warpath lately. Let's.
Timeline of events
Feb. 5, 2005, 4:14 am: (Get some sleep, dudes) Carl Densing at The Cal Patriot Blog posts some whining about some French whining in the form of the magazine L’Anti-Americain.
Highlight: "The founder said that his tabloid is more of a criticism of Bush rather than an attack on American society. Really? Then why not rename it 'L’Anti-Bush'?"
Feb. 7, 2005, 11:07 pm: Lubna Takruri at worldandus (yes, it looked like World Anus to me when I first saw the web addess, too), Francis Pisani's class's webpage for tracking "perceptions of the united states in the world," posts some whining about Densing's whining about French whining. Densing and co. are referred to as "The California Patriots," a dream in the hearts of 49ers fans, and nothing more.
Highlight: "In this post, the patriotic writer spits at France, scoffs at Le Monde, and accuses the tabloid's creator of fueling anti-Americanism under the guise of Bush-criticism. This post's angry tone is amusing."
Feb. 8, 2005, 8:20am: Our resident Frenchie, David Orland at Res Ipsa Loquitur posts some whining about Takruri's whining about Densing's whining about French whining, basically pointing out how not-objective and petty the coverage is.
Highlight: "None of this would be worth mentioning were it not for the curious way the World's Anus has rushed to the defense of what is, to all appearances, an extremely mediocre exercise in journalistic provocation -- for no other reason, it would seem, than that the mediocrity in question is inspired by hatred for the United States."
All parties involved have violated my arbitrary ethics standards. Res Ipsa has no comments, while the Patriot blog is attached to a publication. However, I consider World and Us to have crossed a line by stepping away from its claimed role as a monitor of international sentiment just to take a shot at some group marginally within my blogsphere.
As self-appointed protector of this Berkeley Blogsphere, and tribal elder, I call for a jihad against the pathetic World and Us (which, in its news link section, only links the UK Guardian, I might add) until it either:
a) Is utterly destroyed
b) Ammends its claim to be an objective viewer of international sentiment and admits that it's really just trying to highlight how much people don't like America, and how that's Bush's/Conservatives' fault
(Note that the main source seems to be Takruri, as other posters are more interested in finding out how others think. Get this quote: "Indeed, here is another example of the conservative American right tooting the horn of so-called 'anti-Americanism.'" Those damn conservatives. And the ones on the right, no less. You can find Pisani's objectives here)
c) Actually does what it says it wants to do.
To arms! Drive the infidels from our shores and free local blogging from the clutches of bored "visiting scholars" trying new class project formats! But... uh... do it legally, because I don't need the lawsuits.
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Wow, that's huge!
The Chron's front page tries to impress us with the hugeness of $2.57 trillion by writing it out in numbers. Of course, the main complaint with the budget is that it's too small, so you have to wonder why The Chron bothered. You also might wonder whether "$2,568,000,000,000" is actually accurate, with no thousands or even millions digit. Looks like shoddy reporting to me.
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The three types of liberal commentary.
Chris provides the "Dude, your coverage slants conservative!" viewpoint. (I wonder of The Daily Cal wrote him back and asked "Which Iraq war veteran?" It would totally be their style)
Paul Hogarth provides the "I'm an official 'progressive' shill, watch me write with disgusting officiality" viewpoint.
And Sarah Soujanen provides the "I'm a total hippie! Here's some psychobabble to explain away all the problems of the world" viewpoint.
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In this corner, a man so sure of his principles he'll steal newspapers in defense of them, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates! vs. the monolithic, gargantuan, impossible-to-penetrate UC Public Relations Department!
Sorry, Tom, my money's on UC.
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It's time for...
Interpret that Jessica Rifkind cartoon!
My guess: We were expecting that we could renovate the stadium for free. Boy, were we suprised.
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You gotta' fight for your right etc
UC Students Protest Fees! How effective were they?
As part of the demonstration, the UC Students Association—the umbrella organization for all UC student governments—collected more than $200 million in fake checks from students across the UC system. The money represented debt they have incurred due to ballooning higher education fees.
So, if I wrote a fake check for $300 million, I would've outdone them all!
“Students aren’t going to take cuts lying down," said Matthew McFeeley, UCSA’s organizing director.
Yeah we are.
Though none of Berkeley’s delegation met directly with representatives, ASUC External Affairs Vice President Liz Hall considered the meetings successful.
“A lot of time the higher education staffers or legislative directors are more informed about UC issues and can have more influence,” she said.
Whatever you say, Lizziebabe
The majority of officials said they sympathized with concerns but were reluctant to commit to the proposals.
Legislators understand the issues presented and are doing as much as they can to bring funds to education, said Mufaddal Hotelwala, aide to Senator Tom Torlakson. Still, he said, it is powerful to have students come to the capital and tell their stories.
Translation: We don't really care.
As student officials held umbrellas and sang “It’s raining debt,” others threw fake checks on them, representing thousands of dollars of debt. Capitol police escorted the participating students out of the building.
Dude, those are real fake checks. You can't just throw them around. You have to show fake ID with them.
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Do we really need an ASUC senate? UCLA is toying with the idea, and here's an interesting thought.
Why have a senate? The primary function of a senate – and you can trace this as far back as ancient Rome – is to put a check on a powerful, centralized executive. But when it comes to student governments, this function makes no sense.
"Student government" is actually a misleading phrase because the real function of these offices is not government, but advocacy. So why would we want to check the powers of our chief advocates? It's like putting a doctor's decisions to a vote during surgery. The UC Board of Regents and our vice chancellors put enough limitations on student bodies. Why should we handicap ourselves further?
Now, the main function of our student government is not advocacy, it's handing out money to student groups. This may actually be a consequence of the existence of our senate. Of course, I prefer the current approach, because student advocacy accomplishes two things, and neither one involves effecting change for the benefit of students.
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