Thursday, March 31, 2005
BUE, Part III
It's External Affairs Veep time. The External Affairs VP is charged with failing to keep student fees down, and perhaps being the Graduate Assembly's bitch.
Mark Thomas would be useless in the post, which is better than being worse than useless, as all the other candidates are.
Sharon Han's pretty hot.
Linad Salinas (also on a "Justine Lazaro for President" webpage) has a big rack.
Jordan Mikes has his names backwards.
Alejandra Cruz likes stealing money from the ASUC.
Launching a university-wide campaign to protest the new SAT as an "anti-minority test" is among Cruz's priorities.
Didn't they just spend years bitching about how the old SAT was an anti-minority test? These people are never satisfied.
"It's ridiculous to expect us to feel we're getting a quality education in American cultures when not all the American cultures are represented."
I agree. That's why people don't go to universities to get a quality education in American cultures. You do that in real life. Universities are for learning about things you can't learn just by interacting with general society.
. . .
Though most Republicans still oppose government intervention in the workplace, more and more are arguing for an invasion of bedroom affairs.
Think about it. Abortion?... Gay marriage?
Do people really get abortions in their bedrooms? Gay marriage is a licensing issue, not a bedroom affair.
. . .
People will be impressed by anything. I'm impressed that they write that the dude is 39, right next to a picture of... well... someone who is not 39.
But "Blow the Artists, by the Daily Cal" is not over yet. Next, we have "Oh, no! Artists are getting kicked out for useful people!"
Some dude named Willie Phillips says:
"Artists are becoming very much part of that marginalized class, in a sense."
Well, that's because your contribution so society is marginal, in a sense.
Some dude named Timothy Rempel says:
...new developments are not intended for "financially unsuccessful artists."
Usually, new developments are not intended for financially unsuccessful anybody.
"West Berkeley is really going to lose those people," says Betsey Strange, a painter who has lived and worked in the area since she graduated from UC Berkeley in 1978. "I think it's going to be a real detriment to the neighborhood."
"I'm important! Really! I swear it! I'm really, really important!!! Why won't anyone believe me?"
Some fear the area's transformation will permanently change its culture.
"If industrial property gets converted into commercial, West Berkeley will have a very tough time maintaining its identity," says Mary Lou Van Deventer, the operations manager of Urban Ore, a recycling depot which serves artists and artisans. "Once you lose industrial land to shopping malls or condos, it will never go back to industry."
Well, we liberals don't fear change, like you nutty conservatives do.
. . .
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
One searcher asks the question: whats the deference between a beetle and super beetle?
I'm glad this was asked, because it's an important question that needs to be answered in civilized society. While intuitively, you might think that a normal beetle would defer to a super beetle, this intuition shows a certain ignorance of beetle culture. The great beetles are not those who can accomplish all and achieve great recognition, but those who can get what they want while accomplishing as little as possible. Thus, the super beetle will defer to the normal beetle, granting the normal beetle a feeling of superiority, and giving the super beetle exactly what he wants by letting the normal beetle do all the work.
. . .
Random Election Crap
"BEARS-United, vote independent!"
Some campaign slogan. Just a reminder, my vote is for sale. And cheaply, too, since it's worth basically nothing. Last year I sold a vote for a candy bar (which, by the way, I never collected on.
And The Patriot wants to "expose" Justine Lazaro as a conservative. That is, they want her to lose, and are doing so by claiming she agrees with them. It reminds me of the whole "Out the gay Republicans" campaign.
. . .
BUE Number 2
It's time to choose the Academic Affairs Veep. If this year was any indication, the main role of the AAVP is to whine ineffectively to the administration about things like schedules and deadlines.
Andy Ratto gets the endorsement because he asked me for it. Yeah, that's good enough for me. He also supports inflammatory rhetoric in classes, which makes them more fun.
Jason Dixon is the least objectionable out of the remaining folks, despite saying the absurd:
"Putting Students First means advocating for the students' voice and letting the University know a 2nd week Drop Deadline is unacceptable."
I accept it, and by doing so, prove you wrong. Haha, loser.
"Going to Cal, a world-class institution, we can improve this campus and get the education we deserve, because now, each year the funding that goes to students always runs out," he said.
Parse that bad boy.
Brandon Smith, also on a webpage titled "Justine Lazaro for President," supports using the ASUC to expand mental health services, and presumably supported the Health Care Referendum, which is odd, because one of his complaints is
"Students today are faced with massive fee increases and declining aid, causing us to spend more time worrying about paying for school rather than doing well in it."
"Junior Brandon "B Safe" Smith says he can achieve tangible goals without just giving lip service to them."
Oooh, I'm tired of lip service. His tangible goals are... uh... helping students de-stress?
Matt Werner of BEARS-United has this clear and unambiguous goal:
"But mostly, we need to get more student feedback and promote general academic welfare on our campus."
"We've got a new, fresh approach because we're not entrenched in the partisan, two-party system," he said. "We don't have to answer to anyone."
Not even the by-laws, apparently.
Finally, Josie Hyman has a stupid name.
"I guarantee, we could increase the black and Latino population on campus, no doubt in my mind. We know how to make it a priority as a campus this year."
Uh... some guarantee... I wonder if this is going to be a "mystery plan" that we only get to hear if she gets elected.
. . .
I'm sad again
Remember how a depressed graduate student got us a pointless fee increase? The Daily Cal wants it to happen again, it seems.
The next in the series of "it sucks to be you," this time it's depressed graduate students, which hardly seems to compare with people who can't move without serious pain.
"The most important thing is to seek a doctor or counselor's help because you can't do it yourself," says Temina Madon, a recent graduate who spearheaded mental health awareness efforts on campus. "These are not medical conditions we can just fix ourselves."
"Be forthcoming about your concerns," she says. "Talk to other people, get help."
That's Temina Madon, who was such a good friend she managed to have a partner off himself, and decided that the best way to treat students' depression is to raise their fees. Something tells me I won't be taking her advice too seriously in the future.
. . .
Poor? Unable to find space?
Then try doing something useful with your life. Don't just whine like:
"Berkeley's long-respected tradition of liberalism depends on people like us," says Alan Hillesheim, a letterpress printer and Drayage tenant. "Can the city of Berkeley afford to lose us over increasing rents and the loss of affordable live-work spaces?"
The city of Berkeley certainly thinks so.
. . .
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
It's once again time for "Beetle's Uninformed Endorsements"!
Executive Vice President!!!
Just like last year, I don't really know what the executive vice president is supposed to do. And the BUE goes to...
His name is undeniably the funniest to say. He also wants the ASUC to do less stuff, which is definitely a plus.
As far as the SA and CS candidates go... uh... um... It's like there's two completely blank pieces of paper, and you're trying to pick the better one. *sigh*
Anil Daryani: He gets the nod because he does have an actual goal. You have to go to the bottom of his horribly formatted list (look, guys, it's clear you're making bullet-type points with "Putting Students First," and it just looks ridiculous for you to have those starting in mid-line and carrying over between lines and so forth.) he says:
"Putting Students First means making Senate legislation more transparent by making minutes and meetings available through public mediums like asuc.org and CalTV."
He also wants to check up on senators to make sure campaign promises are met, which is an amazing duty of the EVP. (I recall the same claim being made last year)
Camille Pannu comes next, because, if you look at her webpage titled "Justine Lazaro for President #20" (nice job) you'll see that she has the endorsement of:
"Paul Gordon, Founding Member, Women Studies Student"
Now, perhaps that means Paul Gordon is a founding member of CalSERVE, and is also a women's studies student, but to me it reads like he's the founder of Women Studies Student, which is a sentence that describes a woman studying a student.
Billy Wang: This year I'm torn, but I decided that BEARS-United, while a horrible enemy, still deserves higher respect than DAAP.
"It seems that there's a general lack of student awareness of what the ASUC does. We're here to protect them."
Really? What are you protecting us from? The only thing you seem to do is take money from us. If you really cared for us, you'd try to give that money back to us. I can't help but get the feeling that Wang just wants to be EVP so he can chair over the SA folks he doesn't like.
Ronald Cruz: Finally, the "Shakedown the ASUC" party puts brand a new face, Ronald Cruz, forward.
"Cruz plans to push the ASUC to encourage intelligent discussion of "real issues" like the Iraqi occupation..."
Uh... while that is a "real issue," it's not really one for Cal's student government.
. . .
On the path to being fired
Ward Churchill is scary, isn't he. Res Ipsa coverage and Patriot coverage (here and here).
Overall, it sounds like he was self-righteous and refused to really address the complaints against him. "I'm a victim! I'm a victim!" and the like.
"The rubric of the First Amendment says all citizens are imbued with the prerogative to express their views how and when they'd like," he said.
He said that, but that really seems like a pretty ridiculous way to say "the First Ammendment gives free speech rights." Rubric? Imbued? Prerogative? This is why people don't respect academics.
In any case, the First Ammendment doesn't say anything about not getting fired for expressing your views.
"And finally, on to the really dangerous question—am I really an Indian?" he joked. "The question of my identity is being put in terms of research integrity."
Well, yeah, your integrity includes things like "not lying about your identity."
The other panelists, including Dean of Arts and Humanities Ralph Hexter and ethnic studies professor Carlos Munoz, supported Churchill. The third panelist, Natsu Saito, an international law professor at Georgia State University, also spoke in his defense. Saito and Churchill are dating.
Two of the panelists supported Churchill. The third panelist also supported Churchill. And if you have to bring your girlfriend to defend you...
Andrew Quino gets the best quote, though:
"Ward Churchill said he's been violated, yet... the media’s drooling all over him."
Still, the panelists said all opinions, including controversial ones, deserve to be heard.
"Academic freedom is essential for arguments and counterarguments to be heard," Munoz said. "It leads to informed decisions."
See above note about how all three panelists shared the exact same opinion.
. . .
Needs to be fired
It's time for the weeklyish guess what's going on in that Jessica Rifkind cartoon contest!
So, we've got the grim reaper. The grim reaper's job is to do kill people, or to preside over their deaths, or whatnot. Jeb Bush, if I recall correctly, is trying to keep Schavio "alive." So Jeb Bush is not doing the reaper's job, but is, in fact, trying to keep him from doing his job. Which, I suppose, could be what his complaint is, as in "hey, that's my job you're interfering with."
. . .
Never will be fired
Mike Davis is being mean!
Davis is famous for sticking to the letter of the law, but now he has no office, title or political responsibility to enforce them. The last thing he should be doing is burdening campaign season with lawsuits.
Um... even so, he does have a personal right and responsibility as an ASUC member to demand that ASUC government candidates follow the rules.
This is a ridiculous waste of resources on student government’s part, and an embarrassing example of BU’s inefficacy on the other. Both of them need to get their priorities straight and clean up their act.
I guess someone misplaced an "on the one hand" or something. Especially since the complaint isn't that the student government is wasting its resources, but that Mike Davis is wasting the student government's resources... or.... well, that last sentence says "both of them need to" do such and such, but in the context here, "both" is "a waste of resources on student government's part" and "embarrassing example of BU's inefficiency," neither of which can really do anything, since they're properties or observations or whatnot... *sigh* I give up.
. . .
Wish was fired
Did you know that Bush is bad? This unique, unheard of perspective comes from Andrew F. Adams. I wish I could remind him that the election is over, and most people here don't really like Bush anyway, and you're wasting our opinion space with your constant whining about him, but I can't. And it's Bush's fault, probably.
"The whole thing stinks of greed: raging, unrestrained greed. And that is un-American."
Uh.... if you say so....
. . .
The difficulties of being a transfer student, by Amber Perry. That's a lot of whining. The summary seems to be "I was used to a community college where I didn't have to do any real work and could do whatever I wanted. Here at Berkeley, they actually expect me to do stuff and learn things, sometimes without even being explicitly told to by my professor. That's just ridiculous."
. . .
Monday, March 28, 2005
Can you properly capitalize and punctuate all ASUC party names? I know I can't.
. . .
New News Sewn!
The Daily Cal has come up with a (now-online) ASUC News in Brief section, which includes the following exciting tidbits:
"Any assertion that we're incompetent for not filling out paperwork is a personal insult to transfer students, and it's going to alienate transfer students from voting."
Wow. Liberman may have transfer students in his party, but speaking for all transfer students takes balls. It's not a personal insult to transfer students, it's a personal insult to you, Mr. Liberman. Most transfer students didn't screw it up.
Former ASUC Judicial Council Chair Mike Davis filed a Judicial Council suit against independent presidential candidate Zach Liberman, claiming that Liberman illegally sending e-mail spam.
Uh... editor, please? I think calling Liberman an independent candidate was a nice touch by Tiffany, though.
Liberman has this fascinating defense:
"First, it's just an invitation, he can simply reject it."
Which, I suppose is true, just like you can delete an e-mail. But that doesn't make it legal. Liberman seems to be working on "The way I feel the rules should be" rather than "The way the rules are."
If the council rules in favor of Davis, it would carry the penalty of one censure, four short of the five needed to disqualify a candidate.
One is four short of five? That's good to know.
Anyway, the consensus seems to be that Zach Liberman, like Billy Wang, is "creepy." Apparently it's a party trait.
. . .
(This time it's "What the fucking fuck fuck?")
Admissions standards unfair! This time it's the National Merit Scholar program. It uses the PSAT to narrow its field of candidates. UC objects to this, because when dealing with all students in the whole fucking country using a standardized test is an unreasonable way to help determine qualifications.
From "Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools" and their chair, Michael Brown:
"We're not objecting that many, perhaps all, national merit scholarship awardees are excellent students," Brown said. "What we're criticizing is that a single test score makes this determination. We think that it’s unsupported by the evidence and highly problematic."
First off, the statement is untrue: a single test score does not make that determination. From Elaine Detweiler, National Merit Scholarship Corporation spokeslady:
From the 16,000 semifinalists, the 8,200 winners are chosen based on other criteria, including grades, writing samples, community activities and teacher recommendations, she said.
Secondly, the claim that it is "unsupported by the evidence" is odd, because these people absolutely refuse to acknowledge any evidence which suggests that people of different races perform differently, on average. That is, their claim is "no evidence says X, and any evidence that says X is clearly flawed, because we know that X is not true. How do we know X is not true? Well, because no evidence says X."
But [former administrator dude Patrick Hayashi] said the issue is selecting an academic standard that will do the least harm to disadvantaged students.
"Everybody knows there are inequalities in society," he said. "It's important not to legitimize inequalities on false grounds—that's what this does."
That is, "first we select the results we want, then we find an admission standard that gives us those results." You might wonder, then, why even bother with admissions standards? Just admit the results you want.
Ironically, despite his attempt to change the standards so it doesn't look like there is any inequality, he says that it is important not to legitimize those inequalities.
. . .
Logic for two, please
On some school shooting, from the Chron:
With the recent Red Lake tragedy, it is apparent that there is a common element influencing some young killers. They have been under medication with the psychotropic drug Prozac.
Of course you could surmise that it was their depression at the root of the teens' behavior. But there always have been depressed people.
Well, sure, but there have also always been young killers, and that was long before there was Prozac.
. . .
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Zach Liberman (or someone claiming to be him) has requested clarification of the issues his party is facing.
Claim: He did not violate campaign laws because he was only posting criticism of the ASUC, and not campaigning. He was acting in his capacity as president of Berkeley Esquires. He also claims that he knew the posters would raise legal issues.
Meh, I say. That might fly with a Judicial Council unwilling to disqualify candidates because of the mess it tends to cause. But since the main campaign platform of BEARS-United seems to be ASUC incompetence, I can't help but be a bit skeptical of the reality of that claim. Luckily for me, the decision is not in my hands. Further, the claim that he knew such things would be legally tricky seems to not mesh all that well with his "we're new" argument.
The mystery of the missing party: BEARS-United is totally new this year! What happened to last year's BEARS-United? Zach says he took it over and revamped it.
Big Campaign Issue: Forfeiting the $4,000 stipend of all executives. All BEARS-United execs are promising to do it, according to Zach.
Qualification: Zach says he has a lot of experience running stuff. He built Berkeley Esquires from scratch in a year.
Goals: BEARS-United wants to revamp the ASUC so it can do "bigger things."
This worried me greatly. Zach seems to want the ASUC to become a leadership force for creating change across the country. In fact, he suggested that the people he represents are not necessarily Cal students. In fact, he didn't even seem to care what was going on at Cal yet, only relying on the talent of his candidates to come up with "innovative solutions to campus problems," presumably as they come up. The "We'll figure it out as we go along, since we're smart enough" platform worries me, obviously, but dovetails nicely with the whole "we don't know or care what the rules are" approach. In fact, the goals in particular: webcasting senate meetings, forfeiting exec salaries, bringing in consultants, and creating a watchdog committee, all seem to focus more on changing the ASUC than on helping students out with the ASUC.
In any case, the details of this vision are to come, I'm told, and I will be publishing them when I receive them.
. . .
I just want to mention this, in the name of self-delusion:
According to court documents, Schiavo had attempted to say "I want to live" when asked by one of her parents' lawyers to do so March 18.
"In the presence of Suzanne Vitadamo [Schiavo's sister] and Suzanne's aunt, Mrs Schiavo attempted to verbalise that sentence. She managed to articulate the first two vowel sounds, first articulating 'AHHHHH' and then virtually screaming, 'WAAAAAAA.' She became very agitated but could not complete the vocalisation attempted."
I wonder if they realize that those are also the first two vowel sounds of "I want to die."
. . .
Okay, war on Bears United. They have a website, but they haven't put anything there yet, so nothing to say yet.
However, their response to Mike Davis's suit is so absurd that I have no choice but to go to war.
First, let me explain what happened. Mike sued Bears United for violating campaign laws. Bears United responded with a blog commenting campaign. Seriously. With talking points and everything. Here they are:
Mike Davis is just trying to look cool
Ha. Yeah. Okay. Sorry, guys, Mike Davis is one of the few people who understands that if people want control of our money, they have to follow the rules we place on them.
Mike Davis shouldn't sue, since he's only a voter
Well, good bye democracy.
Bears United is running on a platform of accountability and responsibility
Strong words, for a party that couldn't even file its paperwork on time. Anyway, it seems the BU interpretation of "fighting for accountability and responsibility" is to just bitch about all the stupid things the ASUC has done over the years. Which, while reasonable, would make much more of an impact if Bears United wasn't doing such stupid things before they even got into office.
Suing Bears United is mean to transfer students
Uh... Okay. Don't enforce the rules, because it's mean?
Let the students decide
Students have already decided that candidates must follow the rules when campaigning. There's a structure in place for enforcing those rules at the request of students.
"Let us run in peace"
*sigh* You guys aren't going skiing. It's not a game of poker. You aren't spending your time and money to have fun. You want to have the power to spend the students' money. We will not let you run in peace. You want our money, but want us not to make a big deal of it. Are you fucking insane?
It's hard to run a campaign
Yeah, it is. That's why you shouldn't do it. If you can't handle stress, pressure, and rules, you shouldn't be in the campaigning business. And you definitely shouldn't be in ASUC office.
It's our first election, so we don't know the rules very well
Oh, wow. First of all, didn't Bears United run a slate last year? What happened to all those people? Can't they tell you things? Second, your ignorance of the rules is no reason to ignore your violations. The rules are written down. They're available. They've been available for months. Even if you transferred here, it wasn't difficult to just go read them before election season came along.
It's our first election, and it's hard, so have some sympathy
Dude, WTF? Seriously WTFF? (That's "What the Fucking Fuck?") There isn't a training election. You don't get to try it once without pressure just to see what it's like. You learn by being tossed into it and losing badly. Then, next year, you learn from your mistakes. Except this didn't happen with Bears United for some reason. Last year's Bears United and this year's Bears United are apparently completely seperate.
Berkeley is the bastion for government criticism and civil disobedience
Uh... not in the past few decades. In any case, no one runs for governmental office with civil disobedience.
Finally, the best of all:
"BEARS-United doesnt actually want control of Student Funds. We want to set up an independent watchdog committee to oversee student money."
That's right. They want to criticize funding in the ASUC, but don't want control over it. Which raises the obvious question, why are they running for office? I criticize the ASUC all the time, and don't have control over funding. I didn't have to run a whiny campaign to pull it off. That's like saying "I'm running for president, because I want to be a pundit."
. . .
Student Action's website looks even spiffier (and less fruity), and is creatively titled "Untitled Document."
"Putting Students First. Every Student. Every Year."
Every student? Seriously? How exactly do you put every student first? Doesn't the defintion of "first" preclude such a thing? I suppose not, if everyone is at exactly the same metaphorical location, but that doesn't leave a whole lot of flexibility for students with different needs...
Sorry, SA, your folks aren't all that photogenic, so I wouldn't be putting them on the front page. CalSERVE breaks out the black and white, and with your bright red faces, that might do you a bit of good.
To the history!
Uh... so, actually, they have the exact same history repeated three times, once for each of Student Action, UNITE Greek, and APPLE Engineering. Classy. Nothing shows unity more than mindless repetition.
They've got a buddy icon and a facebook icon, but let's finish off with the DONE page:
Do you like chronological order? I hope not, because Student Action's list of achievements doesn't use it. They, too, have no achievements since Spring 2003. Nice work.
(Does Bears-United have a website? Anyone know? I'd hate to leave them out, what with them being a major party and all. Well, maybe not major... and maybe not a party... but still...)
. . .
Saturday, March 26, 2005
Political Website Review!
"Changing it up... Pushing for progress... Since 1984."
Back when I was a kid, "changing it up" meant... uh... you know... changing stuff. You can't really say "I'm changing it up by doing the same thing I've been doing for 20 years."
To the values!
Only through learning and understanding all voices can the ASUC effectively serve all students and be sure it is making the right decisions. We will represent students who are underrepresented in the ASUC, Berkeley Campus, and throughout the city and state.
Only through hearing all voices can we effectively serve all students. Therefore, we will only represent students who are underrepresented (i.e. not all of them)
They call a progressive agenda "progression." Which is a new term to me. They will be fighting the 'isms. Racism, sexism, homophobia... Whoa, slow down folks. You'd better make that homophobiaism.
In the past the ASUC has wasted a lot of time, energy, and money by being childish. We will maintain the highest standards of professionalism maximizing our efficiency and effectiveness to affect change.
*nod in agreement* That's very, very important. Ahem.
Any institution will become corrupt and be abused if the proper systems, checks & balances are not installed. Currently the ASUC and the university need to strengthen these systems. We will institutionalize systems of fairness and equality in the ASUC and the University.
Also very, very important. Can't have people bypassing checks and balances. Ahem again. Let me just requote that, from CalSERVE then-senator Bahar Khanjari:
"Ideally it wasn’t a good idea to waive the by-laws, but it was really important for us to conduct business and support our student groups."
To the achievements!
Hmm... looks like they haven't done anything since Spring 2003.
To the voter's guide!
Raza Vote Day and Women's Vote Day -Tuesday 13th
Black Vote Day - Wednesday 14th
People of Color Vote Day- Thursday 15th
Uh... I don't really know what to say... can't your supporters just vote whenever they feel like it? And do you not have any voters who don't fall into those categories? What happens if your voters fall into more than one category?
Update: 7ate9 points out that elections are April 5-7, according to election.asuc.org. Nice work, CalSERVE. (I figure it's prolly from last year, but still...)
I'll save individual candidate issues for later. Those'll be fun, though.
. . .
Crusade, Jihads, and... uh... Hobbies
Lots of stuff going on, and lots of wars to choose from. What's going on around town?
World and Us still exists, but their work was so boring I couldn't stand reading it anymore, so that war went down the drain.
The health care referendum raised some questions about the referendum process. The university administration was so clearly on the side of the pro-referendum folks, and likely would have to be for any referendum to get to a ballot. Further, the 20% all-vote requirement for legitimacy but simple majority for victory idea is so ridiculous that only a university could come up with it, and probably deserves some scrutiny. Still, this is a war that takes connections, power, and a willingness to negotiate with administrators, so it's not something I'm going to be leading, that's for sure. But if anyone feels like leading that kind of crusade, it's open for you. I'll just sit back and get my "I told you so"s in next year.
ASUC elections are coming, and Mike Davis seems to have declared war on Bears UNITED, the party of:
1) We can't file our paperwork on time,
2) Anyone who wants to follow rules in an election is just stifling the will of the people, and
3) If you are a student but not running for office, you have no part in the election. ("We're trying to play politics, here, don't interfere.")
Fine with me, but too easy. That's like declaring war on an ant colony. (Sadly, their obvious incompetence and disdain for the process is going to win them votes)
Student Action and CalSERVE have their usual whining but since I have to mock them anyway, declaring war on them would be redundant.
Andy wants to fight for same-sex marriage rights. While it's an issue I agree with, it's not one I'm willing to put the social effort into. If there's something easy or mindless that needs to be done, I could probably help out, but I'm not going to go to war over it. Besides, Andy wants to go through the ASUC. If there's anyone that can gut the fun out of a crusade, it's our student government. UCLA's is quasi-dictatorial, so they're more fun.
But that leaves me with nothing to go to war over! Waaaah! (actually, this post was just a "Hey, look what's going on" post, but I still want my wars. *sniffle*)
Since I'm sure you started your blog over spring break, FREE ADVERTISING in the comment box for your blog! (You bastards are so fucking lazy. Start your fucking blogs already. Some people will actually read what you have to say, without you getting constantly trampled by structure, or disagreement, or whatnot. Can you get that anywhere else? Hell no.)
. . .
Who would've thunk it?
Did you know this is the only site on the internet that has used the word "Neareefeen" according to Google?
"We may as well do research on which way toilets flush on this side of the equator by flushing money down them. At least then we could get a government grant."
What an idiot. Oh, wait, that's me.
. . .
Excellent Campaign Chalk, part 2
GET JIGGY WITH IGOR #131
No, it's not the 130th sequel of a horror porn flick. But maybe it should be.
. . .
I was wandering down what I believe is Channing and noticed the following intelligent message chalked on the sidewalk:
There was also a list of first names for CalSERVE folks. So I thought I'd take a moment and try to determine who was the target audience for this campaign material:
It's not anyone who knows a lot about the ASUC. If they already know about the ASUC and the parties and the elections, then the fact that CALSERVE is written down somewhere isn't going to make much of an impact.
It's not anyone who's not going to vote, obviously.
So we're looking for people who are going to vote, but don't know a lot about the ASUC. Put yourself in those shoes for the moment. You're walking along, staring at the ground because of the crushing Berkeley atmosphere, and you see CALSERVE written down. You don't really know what CALSERVE means, but then, this wouldn't be the first time you've seen nonsense written down somewhere in Berkeley. You shrug and move on.
Time passes. You start to become more and more aware of the elections and the ASUC. You see people tossing around catchy slogans and bragging about their ballot number, while you think to yourself, "Why would they make such a big deal over their ballot number?" You listen to the overblown promises of doing such and such while you can't help but think "Do ASUC senators really have the power and authority to stop student fee increases? And if so, why hasn't anyone thought of this before?"
Finally, election half-week comes along, and you go to the computers where you're supposed to vote. But there's a major technical problem, so you'll have to come back later.
Okay, this time it works, and as you look at the long list of candidates, you whistle. "Do people really get to know 20 of these senators enough to vote for them?" And then you see "CalSERVE." And you recall, a few weeks ago, when you saw CalSERVE written down on the sidewalk, over and over again. And you know, deep down in your heart, that because of that, there's only one thing to do. Vote CalSERVE.
Or... uh... maybe it doesn't work that way. Any other suggestions for target audience?
. . .
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Where's the money going?
Good thing this research is well-funded:
Teens who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are more likely to take chances with other kinds of sex that increase the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, a study of 12,000 adolescents suggests.
Among virgins, boys who have pledged abstinence were four times more likely to have had anal sex, according to the study.
Uh... pardon me for being a killjoy, but I don't think guys who have anal sex are virgins.
Overall, pledgers were six times more likely to have oral sex than teens who have remained abstinent but not as part of a pledge.
Folks who remain abstinent without actually trying to remain abstinent have less oral sex? You don't say...
An in-school questionnaire was given to a nationally representative sample of students in grades 7-12 and followed up with a series of in-home interviews roughly one, two, and six years later.
"Mrs. Johnson, do you mind if we talk to your daughter about what kind of sex she's had?"
. . .
Friday, March 18, 2005
Spring break, I guess. I won't have much to say, so I'll be on break, too.
Start your blog over spring break. It's affordable, fun, and easy to manage.
. . .
The new editorial Khan is cold. Real cold. I like it. It's a welcome change from saying "Everybody's right!"
Anyway, someone wants to say something about affirmative action. Amy Sweeney and Yet Wa Li, interns at the *snicker* "Discrimination Research Center" want to make statements about affirmative action while referring to themselves in the third person. Since it's about race, let's go to the ridiculous overstatement:
Now, as sociology majors at Cal and interns at Berkeley’s Discrimination Research Center, we had the opportunity to learn that affirmative action is designed as a temporary solution to eradicate racial preferences that exist in our society. Rarely is attention given to the fact that the majority of white students are given preference in college admissions every year. (emphasis mine)
. . .
I will destroy you! Don't hurt me!
Some journalist tries to defend hiding sources.
"We have to be able to protect people who come to us with information that could threaten their careers and lives," [Judith Miller] said. "That ought to be an absolute protection."
Now, remember, we're talking about the CIA agent leak thingie. That is, people are coming to them with information that threatens the careers and lives of others. Why, then, should they be able to do so while not putting themselves on the line?
. . .
It's everyone's fault!
Blah blah blah Not enough students in city government blah blah blah.
"I think the ultimate responsibility lies with the city government."
I agree. It should totally be up to the government to get people who aren't interested in working for it to work for it anyway.
. . .
Thursday, March 17, 2005
I'm not the only one with free time
So, apparently, union volunteers are going GSI office door to GSI office door to ask GSIs to join the union. To which I replied, "Wow."
. . .
I'm so famous I can teach!
This story bothers me, because it has MCB prof-dude Michael Levine talking about how thrilling it was to be taught by famous people and how he now feels the pressure to teach as well as famous people do.
This bothers me because famous people are almost invariably crappy teachers. They've been around so long that they don't even recognize when what they're saying is incomprehensible. They usually have large egos that get in their way. I greatly prefer taking classes from nobodies.
. . .
What a bunch of squares
Calstuff is your main source for BEARS-United-doesn't-know-how-to-turn-in-forms mirth (yeah, BEARS-United, the group that wanted to bring business sense to the ASUC last year) but I'll make a few shots, as well. From the Daily Cal:
Zach Liberman, the former party’s signatory and presidential candidate, said if BEARS-United is unable to obtain an executive order, they plan to file a suit with the Judicial Council.
Liberman said he was suffering from a migraine, which prevented him from finishing the forms on time.
Aww, poor baby. If migraines are going to get in your way, though, maybe we shouldn't put you in charge of anything. Also, I don't think "migraine" is really a legal excuse.
He also blamed his party’s disaffiliation in part on what he said was an ASUC grudge against third parties.
"It's just so hard to get into the ASUC world. It seems like it's almost designed to keep third parties out," he said. "We're proud of the fact that a lot of us are outsiders."
I agree. I mean, forms? Obviously only major parties are capable of filling out forms. Sheesh. Are you proud of the fact that you can't follow simple instructions?
. . .
If you thought that was bad...
This story, on the other hand, includes the writer making one hell of an effort trying to tie it in to Cal.
A Berkeley man was arrested in Richmond last week after authorities found a miniature camera they say he used to look up women’s skirts. Many of the women may have been UC Berkeley students, police said.
Investigators believe [Robert Knop] targeted women in public restrooms, restaurants and bookstores, all places students in Berkeley might frequent, [Richmond police Sgt. Mark Gagan] said.
The women in the tapes often appeared to be carrying books, laptops or backpacks, leading investigators to believe they were students, Gagan said.
"I made the comment while we were watching the tapes that they might be UC Berkeley students," Gagan said. "These were not women dressed up to go to the club. We know that he lives in Berkeley, and based on the characteristics of the women videotaped, I would not exclude them."
Well, you get an E for effort, Sonja.
. . .
Yay for campus
Uh... so... here's a story in the Daily Californian, Berkeley's campus paper. It's a story about something that happened at Richmond High School (not Berkeley, not campus) six years ago (not current). Actually, more accurately, it's about a movie (not Berkeley, not campus) a year ago (not current) that was based on a true story but, get this, wasn't completely reflective of reality (not news). Shocking. Really. Who would've thunk it?
. . .
I don't know statistics!
In the area south of Dwight Way between San Pablo Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, there is roughly one liquor store per 670 residents, compared to one store per 1040 residents for the entire city.
The area accounts for 12.6 percent of the city’s population and 30 percent of last year’s homicides, aggravated assaults and rapes in the city.
The figures, some residents say, show that a high density of liquor stores leads to a high rate of crime and negative environmental impacts.
Alternatively, the kinds of folks that engage in homicides, aggravated assaults and rapes are usually the types who like to booze it up more, so there's higher demand, which leads to more liquor stores. Getting rid of the liquor stores would just make these people go somewhere else in Berkeley for their homicides, aggravated assaults, and rapes.
The coalition’s initiative, along with adjusting the zoning laws and the permitting process, places an emphasis on alleviating health issues by forcing store owners to provide healthier alternatives to alcohol.
Hahaha. HAHAHAHA. Yeah, sure. "Hey, store dude, I need some booze! Gimme some booze! Right... oooh, bananas. Nevermind, then."
. . .
Big news! Uh... we haven't had a chance to actually cover it, though... so... uh... "Read The Daily Californian tomorrow for more in-depth coverage." But this counts as not being scooped! Really!
. . .
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
The latest in evil Republican schemes to hurt people.
An absurd idea is heading towards approval. This silly concept is just ridiculous. It says that people who borrow money should be obligated to pay back that money. What kind of idiotic idea is that? We should totally get rid of Republicans.
A bill before Congress representing the biggest overhaul of bankruptcy law in decades would make it more difficult to use the law to erase debt and get a fresh start. Tens of thousands of consumers who now can look forward to extinguishing the debts that are overwhelming them would be forced into plans for repaying their creditors.
Yes, though another way to see that is that a bunch of creditors will soon be able to get more of their money back.
"The bankruptcy filing rate is the symptom. It is not the disease," wrote the professors. While some people do abuse bankruptcy, they argued that the bigger problem has been the way credit is marketed to consumers extending debt, notably credit cards, "to riskier and riskier borrowers" with the predictable consequence that more consumers are going belly-up.
Because we know that people can't refuse credit card offers. It's just not possible.
. . .
Okay, so it's not as bad as Silence, Wishes and the Torment of War, but it appears that The Daily Cal is doing a series of It sucks to be you stories. Thanks, Daily Cal!
. . .
In some op-ed about something in The Chron we see this line again:
Two years ago, police opened fire with so-called "less-than-lethal" weapons on peaceful anti-war demonstrators and longshore workers near the Port of Oakland. Scores were injured, some seriously.
Okay, I'll go over this again. "Less-than-lethal" means that it doesn't kill, not that it doesn't hurt. They're "less-than-lethal," not "dramatically-opposite-of-lethal." I heard "so-called" in front of the term when this happened, and I'm still hearing it. Unless someone died, then yes, these weapons are "less-than-lethal."
. . .
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
I mentioned it yesterday, but the ruling that same sex marriage bans are unconstitutional here in California is gripping headlines everywhere! Even the Daily Cal is getting in on the action, despite it having little to nothing to do with the campus.
This is interesting, because the actual situation was pretty unimportant. Some lower level judge had to issue a ruling, but everyone knew that whatever ruling was made was going to be appealed to a higher court. Essentially, the judge had to write a few words and then pat the case on the back and say "See you at the Supreme Court." But hey, that's BIG!
. . .
I is a genius
Girl shoots pappy. She says she was helping him deadify himself.
Interestingly, the neighbors didn't like the guy. So, in an effort to make him seem mean and to lessen the strain on the girl, Cathy Miller says:
I think they lived in fear. All I could think of is just that (the girl) had had it.
Oh, yeah, that'll help clear her of wrongdoing. It certainly doesn't attack the girl's story of helping him kill himself at all.
. . .
Brown bag lunch with Bob 2.0? Not the biggest news. Here's the big news: Kavon Hooshiar is the "brown bag director in the Office of the President."
There's also news about Oliver Stone whining about how much "Alexander" sucked. He blames it on homophobia. Most of us know that it was just a crappy movie, though.
"Alexander's story is perhaps the most unique individual history I've come across," Stone said. "My question was, why hadn't it been done more?"
Well, he's pretty much guaranteed that it'll never be done again.
. . .
Monday, March 14, 2005
Can't we have wild lesbian sex on the front page, instead? An SF County said that the bans on gay marriage are unconsitutional, claiming
there appears to be "no rational purpose" for denying marriage to gay couples.
Ooooh, boy, does that justification open a can of worms. Most things in life have no rational purpose. Murder wrong? Why? I can see no rational purpose for making murder illegal. It doesn't matter which integer purposes you divide, you won't get a purpose for making murder illegal. Seriously, how irrational can they be?
. . .
Hey hey hey, it's ASUC time! Most years, I continually harp on the stupidity of CalSERVE. But there's not really that much else to say about them. So this year, I'm going to see what I can do about Student Action.
The DONE fliers have showed up again. And they're quite accurate. These things have indeed been DONE. Just not necessarily by Student Action.
Among their DONEcomplishments are "saving dead days." Of course, "saving dead days" actually means not changing anything, but hey, who's counting? Also DONE was rescinding the $40 OSL fee, for student groups who use OSL. It's somewhat odd, though, since Student Action gleefully supported the $43 health fee, which is basically a fee for students who don't use health services. Neither fee would have done anything, of course, but I guess if you don't have a student group, Student Action won't fight for your financial health.
. . .
Even more things to count
If you pick up a paper or wait until the website comes back up, you can see a graph about voting for the health care referendum. The graph is a horizontal bar graph with the top bar being the total number of students voting, the middle bar being yes votes, and the bottom bar being no votes. So, putting aside the obvious stupidity of comparing turnout to votes, the graph is also designed so that it looks like a lot of students voted. Why even bother to put the bar graph up if you're not going to put the whole scale in? I would have liked to see a graph with 20000 students worth of empty space to represent the students who didn't vote (this would be somewhere around the Tae Kwon Do dude's crotch, if you have the paper paper).
The headline includes: "Two-Thirds of Voters Agree to Shell Out $43 Each Semester." That's one way to put it. Another way is that "20% of Students Agree to Force All Students to Shell Out $$43 Each Semester Next Year, and Even More Each Year Afterward."
"I think the nation as a whole could learn a lesson from UC Berkeley," said Caitlin Price, co-chair of the Student Health Advisory Committee. "The administration at University Health Services is eager to give back to the students."
I don't quite see how charging us for services we probably won't use counts as "giving back," but hey, what do I know?
"I didn't see the need to tack on a fee to a constantly increasing college tuition," said freshman Mark Landau.
But supporters said the fee will be kept in check through an independent student advisory committee, which will evaluate the fee's success annually and make adjustments as necessary.
"Students have been monitoring the process very closely," said Student Health Advisory Committee co-chair Nad Permaul. "The vote seems to have validated their interest."
What would have kept the fee in check would have been a written provision that said the fee would be kept in check. As it stands now, though, raising the fees is left at someone's *shudder* discretion. If we add Permaul's comment about the vote "validating interest," we can definitely expect the discretion to not show a great deal of discretion.
. . .
We all already knew Ben was fighting for online voting. And also some stuff about EAP students. (Yeah, you care. Sure. We believe you. Totally.) Says Elections Chair Angel Brewer:
"If online elections were to be enforced, we would encounter an insurmountable number of challenges," Brewer said.
Didn't you do this by accident last year? Just don't fix the mistake this year, and challenges are done. Yay!
"If it extends the election process and drags it out, who benefits from that?" said CalSERVE Senator Dorie Perez. "The ASUC has problems with elections every year, more delay just makes the whole system seem not very together."
You might ask who benefits from the ASUC at all. But you probably don't want to ask that, do you? Also, excellent word choice.
. . .
Fight teh war!
The story is titled "Anti-War Poets Turn Mighty Pens Against Swords." That seems an odd way to put it. After all, if they were so mighty, why can't they... you know... actually stop the war?
"In poetry, there is always that component of saying what needs to be said in hopes of raising eyebrows and surprising audiences," [Pablo Lopez] said. "(Poets) do this not for shock value, but for sincerity."
You try to get people to be suprised for sincerity. Not for shock value. Right.
. . .
The Daily Cal website is on vacation again. I hope it sends a card. First in web excellence.
The Daily Cal tries to do another story on Tae Kwon Do. Last time they tried it, there was some complaint about kick descriptions or something. Save it for the sports section, dudes.
. . .
Saturday, March 12, 2005
Remember that suicide barrier idea? Now that people know it's going up, folks are rushing to get their Golden Gate Leaps in before it's too late. Nice job, director folks!
. . .
Some dude in Atlanta went all killy, as most of us know. But it really sucks to be Barry Hazen, his lawyer.
"So, my client is innocent of... uh... no, seriously, stop laughing... I mean... uh... let me start over... is it too late to plead insanity?"
. . .
Friday, March 11, 2005
Yay for health
As expected, the health fee passed. While they got over 2/3 of the voters, the total turnout was 30%. So the YES votes got very close to their 20% (roundoff error could put it above or below, so I'm not sure which). So those of us who voted don't need to lose any sleep over possibly pushing turnout to 20%.
Anyway, yay! It sure was handy for the ballot to contain the propoganda right from the pro-fee folks. Some people will believe anything.
The good news is that our health is safeguarded, similar to how no children are being left behind in our school system and the skies are now healthy.
. . .
Woody Chang has advice for TWLF. Except he doesn't really know how to write. I could summarize his huge op-ed in a few sentences.
I judge not the legalities of what has been happening. What I will say is that for the message to reach more people, tactics need to evolve. Effectiveness is not simply measured by the loudness of your message.
It's also not simply measured by the number of words.
. . .
Uh oh, missed fact
Lies are bad!
Republican supporters claim hiding her connections was necessary to keep the liberal Senate from disqualifying her. One need only look at Mike Davis, an open conservative who held the Judicial Council chair for years, to see that those who are qualified are nominated regardless of their political affiliation.
Yes, one need only look at Mike Davis. Or, better yet, ask him.
I've told that story so many times over the years("omg Mike, how did you ever get on the Council?" "well...") only ASUC outsiders think its new. When I was a freshmen BCR didn't have a political party that I was aware of, the club was little more than six people. I think my interpretation of the Senator's question was valid considering how partisan the senate was then (much more than anything we see today). The thought process goes something like "am I in any political groups? I'm in BCR but that's irrelevant, they must be asking something else. Am I involved with an ASUC political group? That answer is an unqualified 'no'."
Oops. I guess you can't make that argument after all, Daily Cal.
This isn’t exactly White’s best foot forward—the Judicial Council member isn’t even out the door and already she’s tripping over accusations. This act will likely follow her for the rest of her career—every move she makes will automatically be questioned. And rightly so.
Yeah, right. The campus is lucky if it has a memory that lasts one week.
. . .
Yay, new SAT writing section!
"The writing test will add great value to the SAT I," said Linda Clement, chair of the College Board Trustees, in a statement. "It sends a loud and clear message that strong writing is essential to success in college and beyond."
Berkeley High sophomore Asher Cohen said the essay section is more useful to students than analogies.
"I think the essay's better because it's more practically applied in the real world," Cohen said. "You're going to have to write a lot of papers and memos and whatnot later in life."
All good points, except that the essay is barely scored and not looked at by admissions folks. Most colleges have their own essays in their applications.
. . .
Did you know that Arabs exist? You do now. Thanks, Arab Awareness week!
. . .
Oh no! Not as many people are getting ticketed!
Normally, you'd think fewer lawbreakers would be something a city could be proud of. But, of course, normally a city wouldn't behave like Berkeley does.
In a much lesser tragedy, some dude made the conversion from alive to dead without needing any help.
Family members were shocked to learn of Hammerquist’s death, said his aunt, Peggy Hammerquist.
Peggy Hammerquist, a Berkeley resident, used to care for her nephew when he was younger, and said he had a troubled childhood.
"I took care of him for about six months," Hammerquist said. "There was a lot of violence in his family."
However, Jan Hammerquist, whose parents died when he was young, had limited contact with the rest of his family for several years, Peggy Hammerquist said.
"He had a really tragic life," she said.
I guess it's not so shocking after all. Oh, and lady, you do realize you're part of that family, too, right?
. . .
I forgot to mention this yesterday. Recall that SF wants to put a suicide barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge. Some people don't like the idea because it'll hurt the view. I don't care about the view, but I strongly support suicidal people's suicide, and anything to obstruct them is a horrible drain on humanity.
"This is a social justice issue," said Director Tom Ammiano...
The socially just thing to do would be to let them jump, and then throw a little congratulatory party afterwards. "Yay, you finally took your life into your own hands!"
They argue that suicide is often an impulsive reaction to a temporary problem. One study showed that 94 percent of the people who were prevented from jumping off the bridge lived full lives after they were deterred.
Oh, wow. Does anyone else wonder how exactly they defined "full lives"? Anyway, the best quote:
"Imagine how many lives would be saved if that $15 million to $20 million was spent improving road conditions so people would be safer when they are not trying to kill themselves," said an e-mail from Scott Atkinson of Calistoga.
. . .
Thursday, March 10, 2005
More web-free Daily Cal whining
(Oh, wait, there's the web. Still few articles from the previous days, though)
Class begins in the dark. Students sit silently with their eyes closed and relax into their chairs. The only sound is the professor, who speaks soothingly through the darkness.
Fascinating. Even more fascinating is that the picture of meditation accompanying this comment seems almost certainly to be taken in the light, not the darkness.
The city wants parking taxes. From university parking garages. You know, the ones that aren't on city land.
City officials responded by saying the bill would tax the people who park in the spaces, not the university.
"It isn't the campus that's being taxed," said [Assistant City Manager Arietta Chakos]. "It's really the consumer that's being taxed. This is a tax we get from every other entity. All people that park in Berkeley are paying that tax, and the UC doesn't."
The claim above seems to suggest that the city believes that anyone passing through Berkeley who parks somewhere nearby is subject to a parking tax. Why don't they claim parking tax from people who park in Ohio, but once were in Berkeley? It's the consumers being taxed, after all.
Even more interesting is that not all City Council members support the lawsuit for the LRDP, but those that do oppose it said so anonymously. Yeah, our elected officials are making their statements anonymously.
Finally, the tsunami relief money some students raised has not been sent. That's two people who're getting their food without a pretty little heart sticker.
"It's not going to be effective if it's sent later because people need it now," said BEARS-United presidential candidate Zach Liberman. "It really is a life and death situation. The longer we wait, the less impact it'll make."
Hey, ASUC-wannabe-dude. You do realize that you're already two months late, right? And that event occured more than a month and a half late?
Interestingly, Liberman and the wayward Wang, Billy, want a committee to be watch-dog to the ASUC's money. Because committees are so effective, you see.
"There seems to be so much irresponsibility and fiscal mismanagement," said Liberman, who co-sponsored Wang's bill. "We need to ensure that student's money is going back to the students."
Misplaced apostrophe aside, can a non-senator even co-sponsor bills? And that also aside, those are strong words coming from a dude who was trying to get the ASUC to send money away from students a few paragraphs ago.
. . .
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Web-free Daily Cal whining
It's okay. I'll keep it up. People just won't know what I'm talking about.
The science section includes this great headline: "Scientists Improve Cloud Detection." Apparently, current "Look for fluffy things in the sky" technology is inadequate.
Anyway, I'm sure you're more concerned about today's big news: Golden Gate Fields racetrack isn't as popular as it used to be. Thank God the Daily Cal finally reported it.
Finally, Mo Kashmiri's crusade to sue the school for raising fees looks like it's going to succeed. And Mo Kashmiri is going to pay the settlement. Irony! After all, it's a university. They cover their losses by raising fees.
"UC is not mitigating a loss by increasing its fees, it is padding its profits," Kashmiri said. "This is no reason to punish professional students further."
Yeah. Dude, UC's stock is going way up.
A final judgement is expected to be made within the coming months, Kashmiri said.
Oh, really? I thought it was going to be made in past months.
. . .
I am beaten!
The Daily Cal is not updating their website. Where will I get my material?
In other news, World and Us still exists.
Finally, it's not certain yet, I guess, but warm fuzzies always win over the uninterested masses, so it's pretty likely that the health fee will pass.
Beetle Beat: Losing since 2002.
Let me announce, then, that this blog is for sale. If you want Beetle Beat to declare war on you or your cause, effectively ensuring victory for you, let me know. Reasonable prices.
. . .
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
After careful consideration, and some evidence from opponents of the health measure, I have concluded that it is probably better for those of us who are opposed to vote NO on the measure. Turnout aside, the dangers of having a huge margin of victory for the pro-fee folks are probably greater than the risk of knocking turnout above 20%. I hope The Patriot folks'll join in, too.
. . .
Yay, some more
Our department's GA rep has graciously sent us an e-mail telling us to vote for the health fee. What a pain. I'm almost inclined to use the mailing list to say "don't vote for the health fee," but unlike some folks, I see that as an abuse of resources.
Oh, and if you haven't got enough bologna about the health fee, check out this gem from JonP where, as I accurately predicted, he would use BCR's opposition of this fee as a reason to vote for it. But seriously, read this:
The health care referendum also represents a unique opportunity to radically reduce total health care costs for Berkeley students across the board by pooling risk across the entire student body.
Yeah. That's the kind of thing the supporters are trying to convince us with. Pooling risk reduces costs across the board. You don't need a degree in economics to find that hilarious. Insurance?
Anyway, I think I disagree with The Patriot about not voting. It may be better for us to oppose it by voting no. For one thing, I'm getting the feeling that 20% will be reached, and I think we should be more worried about other people seeing "Huge margin of victory for fee increase" and deciding that fees should be increased more often.
In the long term, it might be worthwhile to look into trying to change the referendum process so that voting "No" can't cause a referendum to pass. Perhaps The Patriot will hop on board with that idea. At the very least, it'll be hilarious to see people oppose it on the grounds that The Patriot supports it. It'll be even more hilarious if we tried to defund the ASUC with the referendum process. But I don't have that kind of time.
. . .
It's voting season for the "Throw money away for your conscience" fee. Once the Daily Cal's web folks gets their crap together, I'll point out some of the stupidity in today's opinion section. But I checked out the ballot and found something disturbing:
Underneath the referendum, on the ballot, the pro-fee propoganda is printed. Right from their site. With no information that it is the pro-fee propoganda. So if you just wander along and stop by, you might think that's the neutral information. One more reason for us to be sore losers afterwards, I guess. Still, because of that, it makes my whole "Go read the ballot" spiel a little less effective.
The general opponent position, according to The Patriot and the others I've talked to is to not vote and hope it gets apathied to death (i.e. turnout is less than 20%). I'm not sure this is the best tactic, as when it passes, they're bound to point and say "OMG, it passed 22%-3%, that's a huge margin, we have a blank check to increase the fee as much as we want!" but whatever, if that's the strategy, I guess I'm down with it. In the long-run, we may want to try to get the referendum process changed.
Today's newslet shows campaigning by alumna Jasmin Reyes. Yes, you heard right, an alumna. Someone who won't have to pay the fee. Telling all of us to pay the fee. She had a hospital outfit with fake blood on it. Just a reminder, if you're injured badly enough that you're covered in blood, you'll probably have to go to a hospital anyway, Tang isn't going to do much for you.
Anyway, here's the editorial. It begins with some stuff about how the Tang center sucks because it doesn't have enough money. I didn't know that the Tang Center's sucking is something new that wasn't there before the huge budget cuts, but whatever.
Arguing that this bill won’t affect those who don’t use the Tang Center is a study in shortsightedness. As anyone still recovering from flu season will agree, if a student is sick then the five closest people around that student soon will be. Students cannot predict the future; it’s likely most will visit Tang sooner rather than later.
If I did get the flu, I'd much rather have that $43 to "drink lots of fluids," "get plenty of rest," and do all that other stuff my mother told me to do if I have the flu. The flu may be life-threatening for some people, but we're college students.
The argument then goes the following way: Improving health services would be good. But the referendum is inflexible, and there isn't much guarantee that it will work, and it won't solve the problems, but still, vote for it anyway!
Now, The ASUCers have the usual thought-free "Health sounds good!" approach. Misha is an engineer, but still supports this. What a disgrace. Ironically, the second sentence reads:
This referendum gives us a choice in how to pay for our health care next year.
In fact, the opposite is true. If this referendum fails, we'll have the choice of how we want to pay for our health care. If it passes, our health care payment plan and method is set in stone.
A “Yes” vote establishes a new fee to improve staffing and services at the Tang Center. It ensures students have prompt, affordable, convenient health care so we can focus on our studies.
I'm getting tired of pointing this out, but no, it doesn't. The only thing it "ensures" is that students will have a $43-sized hole in their wallets every semester.
It ensures access to care for those on financial aid: a third of the fees will offset costs for the neediest students.
In particular, it offsets the costs that the health fee adds. Which really isn't all that impressive.
We choose to empower the student body, creating revenue for health care protected from budget cuts and overseen by a student advisory committee.
Oh, fascinating. Of course, it's not protected from budget cuts in any meaningful way. And even though it's a "student advisory committee," most students are just as powerless as they were before.
UC policy requires an independent student advisory committee be convened to advise campus health officials on the use of fee money. The by-laws governing this advisory committee are determined after the vote, but representatives will be drawn from a diverse cross-section of student constituencies.
Wow. I hope you're reading carefully. "Yeah, we'll decide who's on it and how to make it later, but it'll totally be diverse. Seriously. Just hand over that blank check..."
Finally, and I never thought I'd say this, today's Jessica Rifkind cartoon is actually illuminating of how stupid people who vote for this fee are. It would be nice, though, if the computer monitor was facing the dude using it. And if the keyboard had... you know... keys.
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ASUC correction count
At Calstuffer Andy's request, Beetle Beat will be cheerfully monitoring ASUC correction news, as well as a rating for how many of them we pointed out here on the blog.
Today's corrections include the following two errors from yesterday's article:
Matt Holohan is also running for Student Advocate. Point Beetle Beat.
BEARS-United did not run a full slate last year. I did not catch this one, but I did note that they are not running a full slate this year, yet, which was not corrected.
You know, it's kind of sad that we can find these errors without any insider knowledge. It's one thing if the Daily Cal tries to report something that happens behind closed doors, but fails. It's another when you can find the error in The Daily Cal by reading The Daily Cal.
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Dude, the world doesn't revolve around you
Some people just have to be victims.
On Friday Feb. 25 a threatening sign was found by the side entrance of Oscar Wilde House, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgendered-themed housing cooperative. The sign read, “From now on, no coop people are allowed to pass through our property, 2400 Warring St, or else. WE HATE FAGS. Burn in hell.” The writer demanded the sign back to no avail, and responded by punching and kicking a Wilde house member, before fleeing.
Why didn't they just give him back the damn sign? Did they need it for something?
The suspect is described as a Caucasian male in his late twenties with a slight accent. He wore a red baseball cap and a large crucifix chain.
This is clearly a hate crime.
Sorry, the ordering of these comments is too funny to pass up.
The police have a suspect described as a hostile transient terrorizing the entire neighborhood, but our witnesses believe he is not the culprit. Such a portrayal of the suspect obscures the issue of homophobia as a motive for violence. Given the language of the threatening sign, the man’s agenda is clear: he is a hate-mongering homophobe willing to attack our members and to drag a sizeable chain link fence over an entryway.
No, it can't be a normal asshole, he has to hate us particularly. Because otherwise, we wouldn't be special victims.
Hate will simply not be tolerated.
Forty-three bucks a semester says it will. Do you really have the power not to tolerate it?
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Monday, March 07, 2005
Website go boom
The Daily Cal website seems to have exploded, which is too bad, since I was going to have some fun with it.
In other news, asuc.election.org! It looks like they even have a space for finding out about the always hilarious J-Council antics.
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Everyone loves ASUC campaign season. It gives us local pundit types something to do.
Let's check out what BEARS-United dude Zach Liberman has to say about his slate:
"They all bring their own worlds," Liberman said. "In their own worlds, their friends are extremely loyal to them, and that's the best judge of who they are."
Insular? Anyway, the article claims:
BEARS-United, which was created last year to combat the party politics that have historically split the student government, is again running a full slate.
Checking the neat little graphic, we see that they are indeed running a full slate, including two people named "To be Announced."
And Matt Holohan is invisible!
As of Sunday evening, the sole candidate for Student Advocate, which is traditionally a noncompetitive race, Vikrum Aiyer, is being backed by both of the major parties.
That's not what the graphic says. And I always trust graphics.
For future use
Here are some goals for the presidential candidates, so let's all remember them for when these folks get elected:
Justine Lazaro seems to be planning on "reaching out" and bringing the "outsider advantage" and seems to have no goal but offering "a fresh voice to students."
Manny Buenrostro is playing the "I'm an RA" card that worked so well for Pammy O'Leary last year.
He says he is pushing to make UC Berkeley a school with a top-notch student union, a student body that is represented at the university level and a unified educational community.
Haha. Sure thing, tiger.
Yvette Felarca wants to "educate students about the importance of diversity on campus, the trials of underrepresented students, the campaign to end the war in Iraq and this year’s fee hikes." If you just want to educate, you should become a lecturer.
RebC "plans to improve the ASUC Web site and defend the expression of free speech around campus while slandering her opponents, getting a tan, not getting arrested and losing students' money." Maybe someone screwed up, but if I'm reading that with strict grammar, that means RebC is planning on losing students' money.
"SQUELCH! candidates never win, we're out to have fun and show there's an alternative," Brown said.
That's the kind of defeatest, non-slanderous talk that makes folks like me question her dedication.
Zach Liberman appears to have the sole goal of ending SA/CalSERVE dominance. After he's through with his "clean sweep," I guess he'll just kick back and relax.
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Count the inaccuracies
What a load of orange peels. Serves me right for talking to The Daily Cal. So one, two, here we goo!
Fourteen of the $43 would go to financial aid to alleviate the increased financial burden on low-income students.
How thoughtful. Increased financial burden on everyone else is just fine, though.
The fee would also create an online appointment-scheduling system, which proponents say would reduce wait times and increase access to Tang.
The fee will not create an online appointment-schedulings system. Read here, or just read the referendum itself.
As a result of the cuts, the referendum's failure would result in per-visit co-payments as high as $35, which students currently do not need to pay to use health services.
However, the referendum's success does not necessarily avoid these co-payments. Again, Read it here, or read the ballot.
The referendum lacks "legal teeth" and vests too much power in a biased student committee, said chemistry graduate student Justin Azadivar.
Well, I don't know how I became a chemistry graduate student. How do they conclude these things? Does it say somewhere that I'm a chemistry graduate student? I could understand if he just didn't know what department I was in, but why would he make up "chemistry"?
"It's getting harder and harder to see a physician in the city," [Steve Lustig] said. "The thought that the community can deal with health care isn't true."
Well, if the community can't deal with health care, why are we trying to pay for community health care?
Not that any of this is going to accomplish anything. The Patriot has even joined the opposition, effectively ensuring the passage of this fee. I'm just claiming my "I told you so" rights.
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Forest! Trees! Fire!
Look at that picture. Is that the kind of guy you want protecting the environment?
Kennedy pointed to numerous grim statistics: One-fourth of black children have asthma, coal power plants discharge chemicals that kill 10,000 Americans per year, and 1,200 miles of Appalachian mountains are being torn down by coal mining.
Let's face it. The Appalachians weren't doing anything important anyway.
He said the blame for Bush's policies should fall not on the environmental movement, but instead on the media.
Oh, it's someone else's fault, eh? That's creative. You know, if you want to make change, it doesn't help to tell the people you're talking to "It's not your fault." Because if it's not their fault, what are they going to do about it?
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From News in Brief: The headline:
South Berkeley Woman Scares Away Burglar
The woman was asleep in her home on the 2400 block of Parker Street when the burglar entered, police said in a statement. The burglar fled when the woman woke up, according to the statement.
*sigh* How dull. I was imagining some old granny chasing after a burglar with a pan or something.
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Saturday, March 05, 2005
Hey, it's policy to vote!
Apparently, a mass mailing to graduate students about the health fee had the following to say:
"It is important that students participate in the referendum, as UC policy requires that 20% of all registered students vote."
Of course, such a policy does not exist (nor, for that matter, is it really possible for it to exist). The policy being quoted is that if turnout is less than 20%, the election is not considered valid, and the referendum will fail. That is, encouraging participation only benefits the "YES" side of the referendum, which makes such mailings equivalent to one-sided endorsements. It's good to see that the machinery of the university administration is being used for a particular side. It makes it much easier for our side to be sore losers.
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What a sicko
You've probably heard, already, about some Italian commie journalist who got shot at.
Note the following about this story (here and elsewhere):
The headline refers to the fact that the journalist got wounded. The fact that the agent who "rescued" her got killed is tagged on as an afterthought.
Her newspaper folks were cheering. To get an idea of how sick this is, consider:
A woman puts herself in obvious danger. Then something bad happens to her (presumably. She sure likes talking about how nice her captors were, though), which could easily have been avoided if she hadn't put herself in obvious danger. The Italian government now has to rescue her. As a result of this easily-avoided rescue effort, the person sent to rescue her dies. But these people are busy cheering because "Hey, our person's safe. Who cares about the rest, who would've been safe if our person hadn't put herself in needless danger?" What a bunch of dicks.
If journalists want to be seen as neutral and objective in their coverage, that's fine, but then our governments need to stop putting our people at risk to save these neutral parties.
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Gang shooting and such.
Although Jaurigue's family said he wasn't a gang member, the defendants are both members of the Nutty Villain Crips, a criminal street gang, the complaint said.
Not a gang member. Yeah, right. Read on:
"It's good they're charging him as an adult -- this was an adult crime, " said Louie Angulo, 65, of Newark, Jaurigue's grandfather. "It's really out of line, what they did. It's a cowardly act, to shoot him in the back."
Totally out of line. They shot him in the back. The cowards. They should be charged as adults. If they had shot him in the chest, it would've been just fine.
Starkisha McCormick, 17, Jaurigue's girlfriend, said of Ostertag, "He was acting like he was bad with a gun in his hand, now he's charged as an adult."
Tommy Jaurigue, 16, who wore a T-shirt with his brother's picture that read, "In loving memory," said, "I'm happy they got them. Justice will be served."
These are the people in his life. But, no, he doesn't have any gang ties. Really.
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Friday, March 04, 2005
Oooh, a butterfly
Don't you hate it when you start a sentence, but you put so many clauses, commas, and phrases in that you forget what you were saying when you started the sentence?
UC didn’t provide evidence to support why other alternatives suggested by the Sierra Club, ASUC, AC Transit, and the City of Berkeley would allow UC Berkeley to expand, and improve access to the campus rather than create a traffic jam.
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University officials insist they never intended to weaken the social aspect of campus. But what else explains forbidding online advertising for events in Pauley Ballroom? This is a blatant attempt to curb student attendance.
Yes, it's an attempt to curb student attendance, not to "weaken the social aspect of campus." Can't you talk to your friends outside of structured events?
Why were these rules imposed upon student life? Suffice it to say some inebriated Berkeley High students felt it their right to get into a frat-hosted party in the ballroom. Denied admission, they threw a tantrum and trashed Telegraph. The businesses then threatened to sue.
While the damage done to Telegraph was not UC Berkeley’s fault, university administrators panicked. But the changes didn’t address the real problem—weak mob deterrence. Dances should require college ID and advertise as “college students only” to ensure that events foster college culture—and so uninvited high schoolers cannot take advantage of the system.
Ah, because that way, when the high schoolers do show up, they'll be denied admission, because they're not college students. Which will lead to a totally different situation than the one described above.
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Still not black
Morgan Gilman blows BAMN. Seriously. Show some critical journalism, dude. This is why a blogger has to show up to these damn protests and point out the stupidity. I can't do it anymore, I don't have time. We're missing out on a whole lot of entertainment.
At the forum:
"It feels like we're the enemies in here. We're sitting up here talking about diversity and everyone else out there protesting is doing something about it," said Monica Molina, a recent UC Berkeley graduate.
If by "doing something about it" you mean shouting ineffectively, then yes, that is true.
Molina said treating diversity as a research question dehumanizes the issue. She said in order to solve the problem, diversity must be dealt with as a matter of social justice.
It's a bit tough to argue the social justice of racial preferences. At a young age, many of us are indoctrinated into believing that Jim Crow was bad because it discriminates by giving preference to a particular race. It becomes a bit difficult, then, to turn around and say "racial preferences are GOOD!"
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Haha! Oh, Ha!
The Republicans are coming! Mike Davis, as usual, sums it up quite nicely:
They’re pissed as hell they voted for a Republican ... and are demagoguing that she lied to save face.
Misha wants to override this, but Davis says he can't. Of course, it's not Davis's decision anymore... would it go to the Judicial Council? Wouldn't that be odd?
But the legitimacy of a presidential veto is also in question. Leybovich can override main motions, but officials are at odds over whether an appointment qualifies as a main motion.
"The president can veto legislative actions of the Senate, which an act of confirmation is certainly not," Davis said. "Amaris should apologize for lying and everyone should move on."
Excellent reporting there, Daily Cal. "Officials are at odds. Here's what only one says."
Update: Oh, great, a residual "famous-blog-link". Well, enjoy your stay, folks. Line dancing:
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Oh, that makes sense
Jim Gunn, in the letters section of The Chron is concerned that Arnold Schwarzenegger is "crushing voters." In what way? By calling a special election.
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Thursday, March 03, 2005
Need another reason?
In pointing out the shoddy math promoting the Health Fee, I worked under the assumption that passing this fee means we won't be paying a co-pay. Even with this assumption, it seemed unlikely that we'd be breaking even on average. But that assumption isn't a good one. According to SHAC's poster, one of the dangers of not passing the fee is that the co-pay will not be covered by financial aid. This suggests, though, that one of the benefits of passing the fee will be coverage of the co-pay by financial aid. But that suggests that there will still be a co-pay. If you look closer, in fact, you'll see that no where in their propoganda do they really make the case that passing the fee will prevent the imposition of a co-pay. The list of "Where the money goes" doesn't include it.
This fee is looking worse and worse. Here's an interesting infosheet. Check out these benefits:
Value: The average student visits Tang 2.5 times per year and will "break even" with this pre-paid access fee.
Breaking even is not value. Although it's called a "pre-paid access fee," the measure does not claim to have that effect. It only claims to "support."
Improved Community Health: 25% of UC academic withdrawals are for medical reasons. Help keep our student community healthy and in school.
In the face of rising fees and limited resources, reducing academic withdrawals will only cause more problems for us. Besides, having the unhealthy students leave will improve the overall health of the community.
Equity: A portion of the Safeguard fee goes to financial aid for the neediest students on campus.
Not quite. It's more like since financial aid pays the fees for students on financial aid, it gets its money back. It's not like this causes more financial aid to be available.
Accountability: A student advisory group oversees fee use.
This advisory group, of course, is not accountable to the general student body. But hey, that's just one of those details, eh? Remember how well that multicultural center thing went?
And don't forget the blatant lie of this card: "Everyone benefits from Tang." Sugar is bad for you. And if you never go to the Tang center (like a lot of students), then no, you don't benefit from the Tang center.
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Not on fire
Berkeley isn't burning down, so I figure whatever "ACTION" the BAMN folks took wasn't very impressive. I didn't watch, though I did stroll by while some white guy was whining about how black people are insulted when their success in college is attributed to affirmative action. Which makes sense to me. What doesn't make sense to me, though, is how increasing affirmative action would alleviate that problem.
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Check out these cards. The Safeguard Health Fee wants to improve health for all bears. And the pictures are real bears, which apparently they want to bring to campus so they can maul students so that they need health services more so that they'll pass the health fee.
Um... well, some of that might be an exaggeration. But that doesn't change the fact that the cards are really stupid and very blatant in the "warm-and-fuzzy over reality" concept that the health fee relies so heavily on.
"Together, we can build a better Tang."
Well, that's something I agree with. What about grape-flavored?
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