Monday, October 31, 2005
Is it a joke?
While you would hope Ken Dotson's letter is a joke, or satire, or something, I get the feeling that it's not.
Here's a suggestion about dealing with oil companies' excessive profits that helps everyone. Congress can pass legislation that mandates oil companies to plow any profits deemed excessive into research to develop nonpetroleum, environment-friendly, safe sources of energy.
Genius! Oh, but you know, "excessive profits" is pretty vague. No worries, though. Dotson's on the job:
Excess profits would be defined as any income attained above a reasonable rate of return.
Excellent! Now we're to the highly specific "reasonable." We know, of course, that the oil companies will work hard to make plenty of money above that reasonable rate of return, even though they don't get to keep any of it.
. . .
Hey, lookie. The Daily Cal took it's perfectly adequate website layout and changed it, "for the first time," they inaccurately say. Actually, it changed almost exactly two years ago. It even has comments now. Haloscan comments. That's smart.
. . .
Care, dammit! CARE!!
Assemblylady Wilma Chan thinks she can get students to care. I have a bridge for sale, by the way...
"The rest of the country is watching," she said. "I read an article in the Boston Globe that said if California votes yes on 73 and the spending cap (Proposition 76), everyone else will do it too."
This may shock the good assemblylady, but our prop 73 is not the first parental notification thingie. If anyone's following anyone, California is the follower here.
"I came not only as a concerned student, but as a guy who cares about policies that affect all students," said junior political science major Nicholas Smith, ASUC director of city affairs.
Psst! That's what coming as a concerned student means!
. . .
It doesn't really mean anything if you show up just for the sake of being "diverse."
. . .
"Discovering dark energy has my full support because of its incredible benefits to society,"
says LBNL director Steven Chu. Unfortunately, I was left hanging by the article, because this I want to hear.
. . .
Sunday, October 30, 2005
According to Windows, today is the day we capture the time-stealing gnomes, export them to a foreign country, and torture them until we get our hour back. Protest this by not turning back your clocks and showing up an hour early for all of your courses Monday!
. . .
I'll take credit for this.
The Chron finally deems S.F.'s ballot measures newsworthy. They also rearrange their endorsement box to make some sense. Prop F sticks out like a sore fire department, but hey, it's better than what it was before.
. . .
Journalists not knowing what the hell they're talking about? Unheard of! From John Smithyman:
A translator [this dude] is not. Sauve qui peut is roughly translated as "save himself who can," or, as we would probably say, "every man for himself." Nolan translates it as "stab the wounded."
I'd hate to have been on a 14th-century battlefield with Nolan when the king realized that the battle was lost.
. . .
That last post was pretty long, especially since it said... well... nothing.
So, to blunt it, here's an update on the Chron endorsement box.
Last time we checked, we noticed that Prop 74's YES endorsement was conspicuously absent, and nothing had been put there about the local measures. Prop 74 has since been added, though not between Props 73 and 75, for some reason. Also, there's a NO endorsement on measure F, which says some stuff about investing in blame insurance for firehouses (pointlessly spend money to keep firehouses open in order to deny "I told you so" rights to locals).
Still nothing about the handgun ban or the change in some appointments to the transit board (from mayor-nominated, supervisor-approved to supervisor-nominated, supervisor-approved, whatever the point of that would be).
. . .
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Oh, no, death!!! By people who want to die, no less! We must stop these people from choosing what to do with their own life!!! That silly Golden Gate Bridge. Edward Guthmann is doing a seven part series on dead people who let physical reality catch up with emotional reality on the Golden Gate Bridge.
The conclusion is inescapable: A suicide barrier would prevent deaths.
Yeah, but what about the broader conclusion: Is preventing deaths a good idea in this case? I say no. Let 'em jump. Install automated guns or something to make sure they don't survive.
The Golden Gate Bridge is the world's No. 1 suicide magnet...
Eighty-seven percent are Bay Area residents -- exploding the myth that people flock from around the world to die here.
Gee... doesn't that also kind of explode your hypothesis of the GGB as a suicide magnet, too?
The first jumper, on Aug. 7, 1937, was Harold Wobber, a World War I veteran. Wobber turned to a stranger on the walkway -- saying, "This is as far as I go" -- and took his last step.
DING!!! DING!!! DING!!! Congratulations Harold Wobber, today's winner of the "Beetle Trailblazer Award"! And the story doesn't even make him look pathetic. All you folks who change your mind on the bridge could learn a lesson here.
Robert Blyther, a 27-year-old Navy veteran, flew from Virginia to San Francisco in December 1980 specifically to jump off the bridge to protest the election of Ronald Reagan as president.
Wait, I thought we exploded the myth that people come from around the... oh, forget it, consistency and sensationalism just don't mix. But again, all of you folks engaging in pathetic and useless protesting, more lessons to learn! You may as well do it in a way that doesn't inconvenience everyone else.
Filomeno De La Cruz, 33, celebrated Thanksgiving with relatives in 1993, then walked his 2-year-old son along the bridge. Around 5 p.m., De La Cruz lifted the child from his stroller, grasped him in his arms and jumped over the guardrail. "He was going through a divorce and custody fight," a homicide inspector said at the time.
Boo! Deduction for late-term abortion! You only get to kill yourself.
Weldon Kees, 40, was a poet and filmmaker who produced KPFA's radio show "Behind the Movie Camera." Kees parked his 1954 Plymouth Savoy at the bridge parking lot on July 18, 1955, left his keys in the ignition and disappeared. His body was never recovered.
But did anyone steal the car?
Fifty years later, Jonathan Zablotny, a senior at International High School, took his life. "Overall he had more reasons to be happy than to kill himself," wrote Zablotny's friend Patrick Fitzgerald in a letter to the bridge district board.
Oh, yeah, you'd know. Don't let the guy who actually knows what's going on in his head draw that conclusion.
"He told no one and left no note. All we know is that he left for school Tuesday morning and never got there. That afternoon he was dead."
Sounds like he didn't leave for school after all.
We like to feel good about where we live -- to believe that San Francisco retains its warmth and charitable heart. But the "cool, grey city of love" has for 68 years neglected an epidemic of death. Whereas officials at the Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building and other suicide landmarks recognized a crisis and erected suicide barriers, the Golden Gate Bridge still offers a welcome mat to someone in search of a quick exit.
That's like neglecting an epidemic of people liking pink. Here, I'll spell this out for you folks. People who commit suicide choose to die. And the cool thing about the GGB, is that when they jump, they don't land on people or leave a huge mess to clean up, like Empire State Building jumpers. (I don't know the details of the landscape around the Eiffel Tower, but I'd imagine it's similar)
We sense the tragedy but view it in the abstract, rationalizing the deaths with a laissez-faire attitude: "They have a right to end their lives if they choose."
Ah, yes, the evil "laissez-faire attitude" of letting people do what they want. It's a free country, so we don't believe in such things. We're liberals. Give me a fucking break. There's no tragedy to sense, except the one some unconcerned asshole like Guthmann senses in order to make himself feel better about himself. "Oh, look, I'm so concerned with others. I want to protect them from themselves. I'm a better person than everyone else as a result." We feel that sincerity, Ed.
In the '90s, a suicide club was formed to predict the exact date that the 1,000th suicide would jump to his or her death. As the death toll approached, a local disc jockey promised a case of Snapple to the victim's family.
Now that's classy. But that gives me an idea. Maybe we should start handing out rewards to the family of suiciders. It'd be like paying the families of suicide bombers in Israel, but without the murder.
The railing is 4 feet high, and the parking lot is a short distance from the bridge. Within two to five minutes of parking one's car or getting off a bus, one can dive over the railing. No need to buy a gun or to stash pills; none of the bother of hanging or asphyxiation.
That's convenience that San Francsicans should be proud of. I used to live in a small town in Kansas. No tall buildings, no high bridges... unlike some folks, I can appreciate that convenience.
Says [suicide whiner Eve Meyer], "It's almost like saying, 'If you're a failure, you can always do this.'"
As opposed to saying "If you're a failure, you can always be a permanent drain on society without ever improving your position." Frankly, I think the suicide idea is better from all perspectives.
It's unclear when the plans were modified, but at some point architect Irving Morrow, originally hired to design the entryways and bridge plazas, went to work on the guardrails. Morrow reduced them to 4 feet, and in doing so created a stage for decades of self-slaughter.
DING!!! DING!!! DING!!! Congratulations Irving Morrow, today's winner of the "Beetle Philanthropy Award"!
Marissa Imrie was a straight-A student at Santa Rosa High School when she jumped off the bridge in December 2001. After her death, Marissa's mother, Renee Milligan, looked on her computer and found that Marissa had researched a Web site on suicide. She also had bought a book, Geo Stone's "Suicide and Attempted Suicide: Methods and Consequences," and learned that a jump from the bridge is far deadlier than suicide methods typically favored by women and girls: Poison is 15 percent effective; drug overdose, 12 percent; wrist cutting, 5 percent.
Thanks for passing on that information to future suiciders.
In January 1933, two classmates from a Tokyo school jumped into Mount Mihara, an active volcano on the Japanese island of Oshima. Weeks later, six more leaped into the volcano. Soon tourists were gathering to witness the suicides, which totaled 140 that year, 160 the next. Barriers were erected; it's no longer a suicide destination.
"Various places develop a reputation as suicide landmarks," says suicidologist [Richard Seiden]. "Hanging trees and lovers' leaps and places like the Golden Gate Bridge start to get a notoriety. They develop a self-propelling momentum."
And it's good to know folks like Guthmann and Seiden are doing their best to keep that momentum alive. Speaking of which, I wonder if Seiden supports the suicide barrier. It seems if people stop killing themselves, he'd be out of a job. (Actually, he wouldn't, because he's retired. So maybe he does support it, so that he can put all of his successors out of a job, and not have to deal with challenges to his research)
Newspaper and media accounts are believed to contribute to the Werther effect, which is why The Chronicle stopped reporting each Golden Gate Bridge suicide more than 20 years ago. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Association of Suicidology issued guidelines urging the media to downplay the suicides. Marin County Coroner Ken Holmes said he went to the local media when the number approached 850. "We weaned them," Holmes said. But, he added, "the lack of publicity hasn't reduced the number of suicides at all."
I wonder if this paragraph strikes Guthmann as the slightest bit ironic.
In America, suicide is often disdained, just like the depression that triggers it, as a lack of moral fiber. "People think depression is like having lung cancer," says Stanford's Jose Maldonado. "'You did it to yourself. If you weren't so weak, you'd pull yourself up by your bootstraps.'"
Just like having lung cancer? Don't a lot of people get lung cancer for reasons other than smoking?
Anyway, here is something that definitely needs to change. As a society, we need to start celebrating suicide as an simple automatic thinning mechanism for the useless depressed people of the world. It needs to be seen as a bold statement that, instead of just sucking up air, an individual decided to spare everyone else her whining and moaning and depression. It needs to become the considerate thing to do, while clinging to life needs to be seen as selfish.
For a personality in crisis, the accessibility of the Golden Gate Bridge can be the tipping point between life and death. "It's like leaving a row of bottles of poison in front of a baby," says Meyer of San Francisco Suicide Prevention. "And they're all pretty and have bows on them."
Geez, Meyer is just full of great ideas.
The majority of bridge suicides are preventable, she says, because so many are impulsive. Strangely, the greatest stumbling block in the building of a suicide barrier is the attitude of a population that prides itself on open-mindedness.
"I had someone come up to me as I was walking to some hearings and he said, 'They should put up a diving board so those people can jump off it.' I said, 'Now say to me, "They should put up a diving board so my son could jump off of it."'"
DING!!! DING!!! DING!!! Congratulations, Edward Guthmann, today's winner of the "Beetle Unusual Writing Award" for a triple-nested quotation.
I don't quite see how putting a diving board up would make jumping easier.
By the way, the majority of acts of kindness are preventable, because so many are impulsive. We should do something about those, too.
. . .
How do you dance a jig in print?
The Chron did not disappoint me. In today's paper, section A has 14 pages. Of those 14, 8 are devoted to the Libby indictment and its surrounding issues. This for something that, in the long run, isn't going to matter (sorry, guys, it's really not). This for someone that, as of not very long ago, most people had never heard of. 8/14. And these pages were almost full, unlike the other 6, which were very ad-heavy.
Or consider their online poll:
"Lewis Libby resigns: Who should be next?"
Meanwhile, still nothing about S.F.'s voter measures. You know, the things for which being informed is important.
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Friday, October 28, 2005
I wonder if...
Does this editorial count as Godwinned if it begins:
It looks like it's finally over. The treaty has been signed, reparations will be paid and everyone will be able to leave the table with a modicum of dignity and self-respect.
Anyway, the editorial correctly points out that nothing has changed, and the university is off the hook. However, for some reason, it seems to think this is a bad thing. Who knows why.
. . .
Don't run over the pregnant woman crossing the highway.
I keep feeling like folks are trying to convince me that if Prop 73 passes, every time you turn down an alley, you'll see a pile of dead women who tried to get an unsafe abortion.
. . .
Wow, I'm blaming Bush!
Reruns. Seymour Hersh thinks the problems of the world are going to vanish at the end of Bush's presidency, if this comment is any indication:
"I think the bad news is ... there's 1,180 days to go," he said. "The good thing, tomorrow morning when we wake up, there'll be one less."
He also stressed the lack of journalists in areas where voting occurred, and pointed to this as a cause for the lack of media attention on the many accounts of voter fraud.
"Anybody who seriously wants to do reporting there is walking through a death trap," he said.
So, uh, Mr. Hersh, how did you do your serious journalism, then?
Hersh also drew comparisons between the Abu Ghraib scandal and the My Lai Massacre during Vietnam War, where he blamed those in power for specifically recruiting minorities, those coming from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and holding lower levels of education.
"He simply wanted cannon fodder," Hersh said, regarding former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara's preference of military recruits. "He wanted to get more black people in there."
A close reading seems to suggest that, if The Daily Cal is getting comments properly related (highly unlikely), Hersh is implying that it takes minorities to conduct a good massacre/run a torturous prison.
Most attendees reacted positively to Hersh's talk.
"I'm just amazed by the man's fountain of information," said Berkeley resident Larry Fishbein. "It's like getting a lesson in current American history."
Fishbein said he was surprised by the amount of information presentedby Seymour.
All right Daily Cal folks, you're getting closer. All you need to do is put the "Fishbein said..." line before the "'I'm just...'" line, and the way you write your article might actually make sense.
Peg Darby, another attendee, was shocked by Hersh's depiction of the apparent secrecy of the Bush administration.
"He has sealed himself off from any input from outside of a small circle," she said.
Peg is probably referring to Bush when she says 'he,' but the ambiguous antecedent is pretty appropriate, because she's right even if it refers to Hersh.
. . .
Becky O'Malley, hag-in-chief for the Berkeley Daily Planet, tries to be clever.
The background is that some old hag (another one) seems cool with the drug-dealing that goes on at her home. Her neighbors got pissed, and sued in small claims court when the police wouldn't do jack. As you know, the proper "progressive response" to such things is to defend drug dealers.
O'Malley goes and claims "Hey, you shouldn't be accusing her in small claims court, you should be accusing her in criminal court." She then quotes some constitutional principles she thinks are violated. But hey, if she thinks that some unconstitutional shit is going down, it seems the appropriate thing for her to do is to sue, rather than bitch about it in an editorial. But saving it for the "proper venue" only applies to people she disagrees with, apparently.
Anyway, she also says that some critics of one of the nutty progs, Andrea Prichett, who throws around racism accusations, are "going after her job" as a school teacher in one of the letters in today's paper. I decided to hunt for it, but couldn't find it.
First, there's a rather brutal takedown by Paul Rauber, but Pritchett's job doesn't come up, so I'll assume O'Malley was referring to the second letter here, by Laura Menard:
What Prichett fails to disclose is that she is employed as a writing teacher at the Alternative High School. One can only hope that she is not inciting the same hostility and lies in her classroom. But this being Berkeley, where rights and freedoms are often granted regardless of responsibility, I have concerns. I think the school district needs to remind her that this community values integration and tolerance.
Now, in a real stretch, I guess you could see that as "going after her job," but if O'Malley is really concerned about "tactics which are beneath contempt," she might want to consider where the threshold for throwing the "racism" accusation should be.
. . .
Okay, sure, Libby got indicted, but the breaking news is that, as far as Rove is concerned, "Nothing happened!!!"
. . .
I couldn't help but notice the list of endorsements from the Chron, kept in a box at the top of the page. Conspicuously absent are:
Yes on 74, coincidentally (I'm sure) the one where the Chron spares the "progressivism" the most.
Anything at all on San Francisco's measures, including a gun ban, increased spending, and a possibly significant power shift on the transit board. And just so there's no confusion, I'm talking about The San Francisco Chronicle not considering the measures being voted on in San Francisco about San Francisco's governmental policies newsworthy for the audience of The San Francisco Chronicle.
. . .
I have a better explanation
Lights in ths sky!!! Astronomers say they were Mars and Venus, but Lance Iversen knows better.
Chronicle photographer Lance Iversen caught images of the peculiar lights in his camera around midnight Wednesday, looking east from Twin Peaks. Mars and Venus would have been visible in the eastern skies at that time.
Iversen said that at one point he saw four distinctly separate lights, but then saw only two that seemed to move in unison.
"They were just lights moving in the sky," he said. "They might have been helicopters, although I couldn't see any fuselages, but the lights were moving far enough and fast enough so they couldn't have been planets -- and I know planets when I see them."
Hmm... interesting. I don't suppose suggesting that maybe Lance was just too drunk to figure out what the hell was going on ("Whoa! The whole sky moves when I turn my head!!!") would be reasonable, would it?
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Thursday, October 27, 2005
Well, here's an opportunity to discuss some blogging philosophy.
So, I found something funny while strolling through the real blogosphere. Observer summary here. Source of controversy here (possibly Not Safe For Work (NSFW)). Temper tantrum here.
Basically, some lefty blogger called some black Republican running for some office a Simple Sambo, complete with picture with photoshopped blackface. Some Democrat in some other race pulled his ads because... uh... well, that's the sort of thing you don't really want your name next to. The blogger's defense is "It's okay because I'm black," as if the fact that maybe it's morally okay, according to nuanced detail including information that isn't immediately available, can be relied upon when defining your associations. (Whether it's morally okay because he's black is a different issue I don't particularly care about)
What's funny, though, is that he considers his critics to be ignorant because they don't know he's black. As if all the criticism he's getting includes an implicit assumption that he's white, and if they only knew, they'd realize "Oh, man, then that's cool, that's cool." He doesn't even seem to understand that people might be pissed at his picture even if they knew he was black. The error is theirs.
I bring it up because here's a great example to discuss my own blogging philosophy. I post thoughts which I think are acceptable, but I don't assume that it follows that if anyone finds them disgusting, they've failed to accurately understand something. Many of my comments are quite disgusting from the perspective of many moral belief systems, and I wouldn't bother to defend myself from someone who said as much, because there's nothing to defend.
I'm also not going to lose sleep over someone getting pissed, because frankly, it's the reader's problem, not mine. I'm a true moral relativist, after all, so I figure that individuals are responsible for their own belief systems, and can't go crying when their belief system hurts them. Pick a better one. I recommend mine. Not only do you get to laugh at dead people, sad people, and crazy people, but you still get to judge people as morally disgusting. It's efficient, convenient, and harmless.
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Closets are getting lonely, now.
The Chron published a front page story: "female athlete is gay!!!!" Shocking. Absolutely shocking.
But the pun-writers went for broke on this story, bylined on the homepage as "George Takei, best known for his role on "Star Trek," beams himself out of the closet."
. . .
I'm not going to comment on the Boalt blog, because I'm no law student, but this was pretty funny:
Now, I don't really support shutting down classes, partly because I don't believe it's an effective tactic, but I'm really curious to know, from those of you who opposed the protestors:
What would an effective form of protest be?
If I'm following this, Joe is saying "Because we can't do anything effective but annoying, you shouldn't complain when we do something ineffective but annoying."
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FRONT PAGE NEWS!
. . .
You don't say...
"At 'Cuddle Parties,' Pajama-Clad Revelers Gather to Rest, Relax and Rub—With Permission, Of Course."
Really? With permission? See, I totally thought they'd be talking about sexual assault parties, but good thing they clarified it.
. . .
Funny letters page. The first part is titled "The benefits of 2,000 American dead."
Patrick Mattimore wants to make going to public schools a requirement for folks who want to get into state universities, because then parents would "think twice" about abandoning public schools. Of course, the fact that public schooling is almost free already should make parents think twice. It just so happens that since public schools suck, they think it's worthwhile to use better schools. In other words, Mattimore is essentially arguing that universities should make "going to an inferior school" an admissions requirement.
A popular theme nowadays on Prop 77, explained by Bob Wetzel, is that what really should happen is that redistricting should be changed in Texas, not California, because that would hurt Republicans. This is the level of argumentation, apparently, for Prop 77 opponents. One wonders why they don't just endorse a law that requires that California's representatives be Democrats, since they seem more concerned with the results, rather than the legitimacy of the election process.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2005
In boredom, I strolled over to check out San Francisco's special election plans. Some interesting things:
The voter's guide has paid arguments.
Proposition D has to do with how they appoint folks to some transit board. It requires that at least one nominee has a physical disability. No one in the arguments seems to consider this particularly interesting, though, so maybe such things are typical.
Prop H bans firearms in San Francisco. Yeah. I'm actually wondering where the uproar is. This is the kind of thing that gets huge attention from certain elements, and I haven't heard squat about it. Very little in The Chron. The San Francisco Chronicle's special election blog doesn't even cover the San Francisco election. Some of the paid arguments in the voter guide against it are pretty funny, though.
"We have a bridge to sell anyone who believes criminals will turn in their handguns."
"If guns were 43 times more likely to kill their owners, hunters and NRA members would be stacked up like cordwood in America's hospitals!"
The SF Republican party goes Godwin:
"One of the first laws enacted by the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazis) was to ban the private ownership of guns. Proposition I would do the same."
Just as a reminder, the proposition we're talking about is Proposition H. I'll get to I in a second.
Think! Daly's Proposition H will:
-Take the rights of residents to defend themselves.
-Leave small business owners vulnerable to criminals.
-Give police the right to search your home.
-Cost the taxpayer money to litigate
-Safer, for thugs to assault you.
The last line would've been harsh, had they got the parallelism right.
There's something more impressive about this measure, though. It doesn't apply to non-residents of San Francisco city/county. In order to make it constitutional, the writers had to allow out-of-towners to bring in their guns. "No, no, officer, I'm a resident of... uh... that city just on the other side of the border."
Prop I has to do with military recruiters in public schools. It's a "declaration of policy." Imagine what impact that would have. If you imagined anything, you imagined wrong.
The argument in favor includes chanting. Yes, chanting, in a written voter's guide. "Money for jobs and education! Bring the troops home now! College not combat!"
Anyway, the college not combat guys didn't even bother dealing with the voters guide beyond the supporting statement. No rebuttal to the opposing statement. No paid arguments.
The rebuttal to the supporting statement is... uh... not very gentle. Read it yourself (p. 90).
The paid opposing arguments all run along the lines of "this will cut off funding for our schools!!!" They are all incorrect, though, because the measure doesn't actually do anything, so schools won't change to be in violation of the Solomon Amendment.
. . .
I'm feeling anxious
"White House on Edge in CIA Leak Case".
The case itself seems boring enough, but the reporting is comedy gold. The leading clause:
The waiting for possible indictments in the CIA leak investigation caused high anxiety at the White House on Wednesday...
The story then goes on to cite examples of people who do not look anxious at all, and Bush doing presidential things.
Or, thanks to Fark, we have "CIA leak probe has Washington waiting," appropriately Farklined: "Attention: Nothing is happening. This apparently is breaking news."
Scan down eleven paragraphs and you see a link to an exciting-looking video clip: "Watch Washington wait for possible indictments -- 2:59."
Reuters is on the story, too, with an article this morning: "Leak probe prosecutor arrives at court." It's a three-paragraph story explaining that... well... the prosecutor arrived at court.
Good job, media folks. Thanks for keeping us informed.
. . .
The future is now!
I believe this speaks for itself:
The prospect of moving from an Internet connection via a standard telephone line to broadband, resulting in faster networking, has long been considered the future of telecommunications.
It may help explain the Daily Cal's website woes, actually, if they're still on dial-up.
. . .
Don't sound too hopeful
"Indictments would Rock White House"
Okay, the editorial isn't... oh, wait, sorry, I meant "news analysis," I always screw that up for some reason... Anyway, the analysis isn't shy about showing how hopeful the Chron folks are. In the end, it's pretty silly. You know that it's not going to matter if there are indictments or not.
On the anti-Bushie side:
If indictments: "This is clear evidence that the Bush administration is corrupt and blah blah blah blah blah..."
If no indictments: "This is clear evidence that people in positions of power get special treatment and are not held accountable for blah blah blah blah blah."
On the anti-anti-Bushie side:
If indictments: "Indictments are meaningless, especially from a partisan assassin like Fitzgerald..."
If no indictments: "Haha! Told you! Neener neener neener!"
. . .
Don't worry, you can trust us
Union reps are concerned for the employees they represent, unlike the employees themselves, you see. That's why they say things like this:
Local 790 SFUSD Chapter President Karen Bishop said it wasn't "in the best interest of our members" to have them vote on the current proposals.
"It would give them less than we want," said Bishop.
. . .
Here's more on that pointless screaming thingie.
"We wanted to thank Yoo for giving the soldier the freedom to torture us," said senior Jason Curtis, one of the students who participated in the protest in Yoo's class.
Curtis said he was taken aback by the responses of Yoo's students.
"There's a lot of concern about the disruption of studies, but my own studies are being disrupted when I can't sleep because I dream about what the world is like," Curtis said.
"Whoa! These people don't want me to barge into their lives screaming about my personal cause? That's a shock." And good Lord, dude, if you can't sleep because you can't deal with reality, you've got bigger problems than John Yoo. And I know you're not bullshitting, because I'm sure protesters are always honest.
Besides, it's not like disrupting the studies of the Boalties is going to do anything to mitigate your own disrupted studies. It makes no sense to refer to it as some kind of balance.
Update: By the way, I'm going to add "World Can't Wait" to my list of predictions that will surely come true. There is simply no way we will see the world more or less intact in 2009 if Bush isn't removed from office ahead of time.
. . .
John Edwards. Out-charisma-ed by Dick Cheney. Ouch.
Calstuff finds a few other blogs in town. Hey, other blogs in town! Come out, come out, wherever you are! Join us! It's fun! Anyway, other bloggers seemed to be rather unimpressed with the substance half of his speech.
"This is your movement," Edwards said to more than 1500 students and community members filling Pauley Ballroom to the brim. "The poor need a champion. They need you."
They need a bunch of suburban kids who haven't ever actually seen poverty?
Edwards pointed out that in 2004 the U.S. Census Bureau reported 37 million Americans live at or below the poverty level.
"In a country of our wealth, how can that be?" he said.
Well, let's think about this for a second. Suppose all those people making below poverty level suddenly made an extra X thousand dollars, which is enough to put them above the poverty line. Wouldn't we just draw a new poverty line higher up? We'd need a country of absolute lack of wealth in order to make it so that nobody is "poor."
"There is so much positivity and creativity and optimism within college students that has to be harnessed," said sophomore Jenny Cooper.
Sophomore? She's been here a whole year and still believes that?
. . .
Ignacio Chapela is dropping his lawsuit. Apparently, by continuing to push it after he got everything he wanted, people started to come up with the crazy idea that he's just whining.
Chapela, who still stands firmly by his case, said he decided to drop the lawsuit after allegations that he was pursuing litigation against the university out of self-interest or a personal vendetta.
Chapela, however, denied that the lawsuit was motivated by any self-serving interest.
"It was not in my interest to continue with my lawsuit because of that," he said. "The problem is, I do not want to go to court simply for my personal satisfaction."
This is interesting, because if what he says was true, and he wasn't in it for personal satisfaction, you have to wonder why it was even relevant that people were beginning to see it that way. So what if they were? Isn't his cause more important than his own personal preference of not being seen as a whiner? Apparently not. I think our initial conclusion was correct.
. . .
I'll be voting for Prop 77 because the term "special masters" is so funny. Apparently, though, there's also an aspect that has to do with redistricting.
None of California's 153 state legislative or congressional seats changed party hands in the November 2004 election-a statistic supporters of Proposition 77 said could change if the measure, aimed at revamping the way legislative districts are drawn, passes on Nov. 8.
But that's not the only statistic mentioned in the article. Why, if you look down a few paragraphs, you can find this impressive statistic:
In the November 2004 general election, no assembly, state senate, or U.S. congressional seat changed parties.
Can you believe it? They're both true!
While many critics agreed that a change in the redistricting process is ultimately necessary, they are wary that the proposition would result in an amendment to the state constitution, which would be difficult for future legislatures to change.
Uh... isn't that sort of the point?
Other opponents of the proposition said the panel of three retired judges will not be representative of California, as the bulk of retired judges are older white males.
"We too would have liked to see a more diverse panel," said Steve Blackledge, legislative director for CalPIRG, a California public interest group which has endorsed the proposition. "Are we better off with an independent panel with retired judges or are we better off with legislators drawing the lines?"
That's an interesting question, which people will vote on. Unless Mr. Blackledge actually had a point to make about which one we really would be better off with, you wonder why they'd even mention it. Also note that they have followed an "other opponents say..." comment with a comment from a supporter, as we've come to expect from The Daily Cal.
. . .
Lot's of dumb today.
First, Sextravaganaza! Hehe, we're talking about sex, doesn't that make us so cool? It was funny in third grade, maybe. Now it's just old hat. And friends don't talk about sex? Whatever you say.
"Does anyone know what 'vagina' means? A sheath for the sword. I call it cunt. I've reclaimed it," shouted senior Rachael Bruck into a microphone in front of Sproul Hall. "No one is taught what cunt means-it's a powerful word and it's really empowering."
I was taught what cunt means, actually. It means vagina. But that takes us right back to where we started, doesn't it?
. . .
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Need your "burst-into-class-screaming" fill? Prof. Yoo got hit, and go here for more info. Some of the comments are telling. "A little screaming and yelling is a good thing... Hasn't anyone ever felt like screaming in the last 5 years? Some serious shit has gone down..." Armen responds:
You hit the nail right on the head. The yelling and screaming is an excellent way to make you feel good about yourself and your cause while actually accomplishing nothing.
Someone else says:
When I first got to the lobby, I had no idea what was happening. The cops were real. Were the prisoners? Then Torture Victim's expensive sneakers tipped me off. Something about the moral outrage of a guy wearing shoes stitched together by Indonesian 7-year-olds in a dank sweatshop fails to inspire me. From that point on, I couldn't take those people seriously.
. . .
Today's editorials make two very bad points. Normally, they go "one bad, one neutral," but today they impress me with both of them.
Essentially, the first claims the BCR-BAMN debate was some kind of model for the kind of discourse that should go on here on campus. I didn't go, but I did go to the BCR-BSTW debate, and that's the kind of discourse that should be reserved for humor value. Nothing useful comes out of it.
On the online voting front, the other editorial makes the intriguing statement:
ASUC is biting off more than it could possibly chew by trying to enfranchise all of its students.
It's an interesting view of the voting process, and not one you would expect from the Daily Cal. Imagine telling voters "we'd like to let you vote, but it's too risky" in an election that actually matters.
. . .
400th trimester abortion
Prop. 73 is that one initiative that'll sort of half-force parents to be sort of informed about their kids having abortions. I hate children, hate teenagers, and like money, so I'll be voting no, but let's see what others say.
Taylor Allbright wants us all to vote on behalf of the dumb teenagers who can't avoid getting pregnant. Because that's what college students do. It's totally our responsibility. Sure thing, Taylor. We're on it.
Sunita Puri writes an op-ed on the topic. While she tries to convince us that we should vote no, all she really convinces me of is that either she doesn't understand what Prop 73 is going to be doing, or doesn't explain it to the people who talk to her. For instance, one of her props says:
It's already hard enough to get an abortion. I don't know what I would do if I knew that I couldn't even be the one to tell my parents, that some doctor was going to do it instead... where does that leave me and my family?
Yeah, you see, the law is going to ban teenagers from telling their parents. Right.
Another of her props makes another point:
I recently worked with a young woman who believed that her physician would have to report her pregnancy to her parents. In an attempt to terminate her pregnancy, she got drunk and had her boyfriend beat her abdominal region until she had a miscarriage. I met her while she was hospitalized for internal bleeding; even then, she feared telling her parents the truth.
Hm... not very subtle. Not only is she ignorant of the law, she didn't even come up with a plan that wouldn't inform her parents anyway.
"If my father knew, he would blame my mother for me being a whore, and she would get in trouble," she told me. "I gotta think about more folks than just myself here."
Couldn't she stop to think about her boyfriend, too? I mean, didn't he get a great deal of shit for this little stunt? Does he not count? Did he want to do it?
Anyway, the more people tell me that passing this proposition will lead to dumb teens killing themselves trying to get an abortion, the more inclined I am to support it. But I'm pretty sure that these stories are more exaggerated than the added cost and reduced abortions that will come with this initiative.
. . .
One of my favorite websites is not updated. See if you can guess which one.
Anyway, did you know that smokers are still allowed to exist in Berkeley? Luckily, our mayor is on the job to correct that. Among the proposed efforts:
Declare second-hand smoke a nuisance, so that neighbors can have yet another tool for feuding.
Prohibit smoking in a car with kids within city limits. (Is this even Berkeley's jurisdiction?)
Eliminating events at bars that tobacco companies sponsor. No, not bars that are owned by the city, just bars in the city. Owned by private citizens. Why? To protect "the children." Or, more accurately, the college students.
Says the mayor:
"It's becoming more and more difficult for smokers to smoke, as well it should be."
Now, if only we could find a way to make stealing newspapers more difficult...
. . .
Good luck with that!
S.F. is looking for a new superintendent. In case you haven't been following, the previous one, Arlene Ackerman, was chased out of town for prioritizing teaching children over feel-good community meetings. They now need a replacement who understands that teaching children is not priority number 1.
The San Diego Unified School District, the state's second largest after Los Angeles, recently hired a new superintendent who started work this month. One of its school board members, Katherine Nakamura, said hiring an "excellent consultant … who held our feet to the fire when we got off task," as well as involving the community, helped them to not only find a top-notch chief but to restore public faith in the school board, which, like San Francisco, had a reputation for its divisiveness.
"This [choosing a superintendent] is the most important thing they're going to do, period," Nakamura said. "If you can pull that off, people will cut you a lot of slack."
The assumption here being that slack will be needed in the future. That's the kind of confidence I expect from my elected officials.
. . .
Bitter old lady Becky O'Malley spared us one of her dumb editorials to replace it with a guest editorial, which includes such thoughtful commentary as "I can't figure out the simple voter's guide," "Arnie is a bastard," and "People who disagree with me should go to jail." Anyway, as the highlight, consider:
The key argument "against" Prop. 73 in the voter guide, co-authored by the president of the California Nurses Association, is no on Proposition 73."
Here's as good a time as any to comment on Initiative Madness, since I skimmed some of their work. In summary: It sucks. Really. For example, the comments on Prop 75 go along these lines:
People don't have to join a union (of course, they often have to pay fees, but who cares?).
People already have a right to have their funds not go towards political positions (and they would have the right to have their funds be used for that purpose if it passes, but again, who cares?).
The governor tries to promote his cause (which is bad, for some reason, unlike when the unions try to promote their cause).
Like reading parrots? Here's your chance.
This, of course, puts aside issues about "heroin figures" and "Arnie usurping his power" (whatever that means). Look, kids, if you want to start blogs, then start your own blogs and take control of them yourselves, don't just sit there repeating the talking points of one side and call it "demystifying the special election." Take your own positions. Be creative. Pick a theme. This year, my theme was "blatant self-interest."
. . .
Monday, October 24, 2005
Woooo! Stop the war!
It's always nice to see people predict things. I try to repeat people's predictions so that they can get their "I told you so" rights when they turn out to be absolutely correct, like Kamela Harris surely will be.
Over the weekend, we had some war whining thingie in town. As they said beforehand, it involved "all sorts of wackiness that should capture Berkeley students' imaginations for years to come." Isn't your imagination captured? Won't it remain that way for years? Just look at these people. Can't you see the intensity with which their imagination has been captured? Score another one for "accurate predictions."
In the "soon-to-be-accurate" category, we've got Snehal Shingavi, who's apparently on his way out:
We will put an end to military recruitment and stop the wheels of the military.
I'm sure his prediction will pan out.
"Military recruitment is done so that poor people are doing the dirty work for those who are rich," Shingavi said.
Wow! That's totally unlike normal employment.
A standing ovation greeted the next speaker, former Navy petty officer Pablo Paredes, who was convicted and sentenced for missing movement, for refusing to board an Iraq-bound ship.
Query: If you weren't willing to do whatever the government told you to do, why did you sign up for the Navy? Are you seriously proud of being a dupe?
"The military has been the single most innovative organization in the world and having military recruiters on campus will make sure that our military remains one of the biggest contributors to the intellectual community," said senior Amaury Gallais, a member of the Berkeley College Republicans, which squared off with the UC Berkeley Stop the War Coalition last spring over the same issue.
Also last month, but who's counting?
. . .
As if you needed another reason
Need another reason to support Prop 74 beyond mine (the coin I flipped came up heads)? Jessica Quindel seems unhappy about it.
Teacher union lady Cathy Campbell says:
There is absolutely no evidence that this (proposition) will improve teacher performance or student achievement.
Ha! That's nothing! I'll raise you a 'not.' "There is absolutely no evidence that this (proposition) will not improve teacher performance or student achievement."
My hope is that by making teaching a real job you can get fired from normally, it will start paying like a real job. The union folks should totally be on board, but instead, they want to get paid like real employees without being treated like real employees. They're crazy!
. . .
Let's see... 7/2*3=8?
Four-year public universities have seen a national increase of 7 percent in tuition and fees since last year, rising at twice the rate of inflation and leaving many college students scrambling for financial relief, according to a College Board report.
Throughout the UC system, however, fees increased eight percent this year, almost triple the rate of inflation in the US.
Didn't Bob 2.0 say something about teaching everyone simple math?
Admissions Veek Richard Black says some stuff about "Sure, our fees are rising fast, but everything else is already so damn expensive, they'll barely notice!"
. . .
It's really critical that the ASUC mounts itself to have some sort of presence in the capitol.
Do it lobby-style!
. . .
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Wow, I didn't see this coming: The Chron is endorsing Prop 74, the "treat teachers like employees" initiative. I thought they would reject it because Arnie was supporting it, as they did with Prop 75. And while they endorsed Prop. 77, they had to explicitly apologize for the fact that it might make Arnie look good.
. . .
Don't cramp their style
BIG NEWS!!! When kids start acting crazy, maybe it's because they're crazy.
"[Some kid] said, 'That's exactly how that kid wound up (being accused of) killing that lady in Lafayette, Calif., this week,'" [ex-probation officer Mike Pritchard] said. "You see, kids are hurting. They get it. They just need our help."
Now, they're quoting someone here. Do they really need to put the disclaimer "being accused of"? Indeed, it says something different. It says that the kid was accused because of the things in the previous paragraph, not that those things led him to kill. It's the difference between "He was black, that's how he wound up killing that lady" and "He was black, that's how he wound up being accused of killing that lady."
. . .
Friday, October 21, 2005
With an amazing 5 letters in today's Daily Cal, I can do a letter sprint. Unfortunately, with an amazing 0 successful updates of the 1st-in-web-excellence Daily Cal website today, it's a bit hard to give appropriate context. Follow along at home, or something. (or here)
Brad Hunt is angry that Bob 2.0 doesn't think community colleges are as good as real universities. Uh. Yeah. Community colleges gave us Zach Liberman, didn't they?
Lecturer Brian Harvey is angry that smokers throw their cigarettes butts on the ground.
Today on my way from my office in Soda Hall to my class in Pimentel, I counted cigarette butts -- there were 163 of them in my path!
I think this says more about Harvey than it does about smokers.
Henry Butler, from LA, is going to buy four Toyotas just to spite Honda.
Ruth Maguire wants us to make sure to support the Senate version of the PATRIOT Act Reauthorization bill. Unfortunately, she seems to have mistaken the Daily Cal for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Patrioteer Melanie Smith points out that direct democracy looks ridiculous, though I don't think that's what she was aiming for.
. . .
Way to be on top of the issue
In today's editorial on the video game law thingie, you get the impression that the writer hasn't actually followed the story all that closely. It includes statements like:
So it's no surprise that the Video Software Dealers Association and the Entertainment Software Association are taking Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to court for signing a bill that would limit the amount of violence permissible in video games.
Soon after, the state legislature passed a bill that forbade videos that enable "killing, maiming, dismembering or sexually assaulting an image of a human being," which was then affirmed by Schwarzenegger and is set to go into effect in 2006.
=~ s/videos/video games/;
Of course, the law in question doesn't actually ban such games, it just forces a ratings system and requires stores to enforce it (by not selling to kids and such). But hey, what are details?
. . .
I sure wish I could point you to today's Aron Bothman cartoon (I can now), because it's actually pretty decent, but you know how the 1st-in-web-excellence Daily Cal is about their website. It shows Bush as seen by conservatives (knight), liberals (puppet), and berkeley liberals (badly drawn devil head with "him not gud").
Still, I think he's wrong about how conservatives see Bush. It would be more accurate to draw Bush as an angry lion chasing around a bunch of midgets in a circus tent. They don't particularly like Bush, but they enjoy watching him drive people crazy.
. . .
I'm sure that was productive
I decided not to go to yesterday's AffAct debate because... well... those things are just painful to watch.
The Daily Cal quasi-covers it (but their website hasn't been updated), and I hope The Patriot does (Update: done). From the Daily Cal:
"The only way to root out institutionalized racism is first to recognize that it exists and then to take positive actions against it," [BAMNer Shanta Driver] said, pointing to the civil rights movement and the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision as a turning point for equality. Driver said the fight for affirmative action is the modern civil rights movement.
You know, it's funny she mentions BvBoE, which said that considering race when deciding who to let go to a particular school was unconstitutional.
"I think it was a productive event," said Angel Lopez. "It gave students a good foundation."
I can't quite laugh in her face, since I didn't go. (I can, actually, because she's named Angel, but that's a different issue) But if anyone who did go wants to laugh in her face, feel free to.
Correction: See comment.
. . .
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Cue "But he was such a nice kid"
Dead! Oh, not yet. Darn.
Whatever his personality, students said Dyleski wasn't known for trouble. The only incident anyone could recall occurred when a 6th grader commented on Dyleski's appearance. He reportedly punched the boy in the face. School officials reacted by banning trench coats, but Dyleski kept wearing black every day.
Looks like an idiot -> some kid making fun of how he looks.
Some kid making fun of how he looks -> kid gets punched in face.
Meh. I guess that's possible.
Some kid gets punched in the face -> school bans trench coats.
Yeah, that seems like... wait, what?
"We all knew he would become something good," the 17-year-old said.
Oh, right, in case you weren't following, the kid they're talking about murdered some famous lawyer's wife. Boy, is that 17-year-old's face red.
Anyway, we've got some great before and after pictures.
Earlier, I mentioned that the Chron had named him. Damage control!
The youth, whom Lee declined to identify, was held at Contra Costa Juvenile Hall in Martinez. The Chronicle ordinarily does not name minors charged with crimes. But in this case, the newspaper named Dyleski because of the seriousness of the alleged offense and because a source close to the case said the suspect is expected to be charged as an adult.
O...kay... where in there does it imply "naming the minor is cool"? I'm putting my money on "Whoops, we screwed up, time to pull a policy out of our ass to cover!"
. . .
Woo, boy, that takes balls
Gaia can often just sit back and let the crazies take care of things.
First up is that rich dude's dead wife who's not at all important to most people yet seems to grab headlines. Some kid killed her. Oh, I mean allegedly killed her.
The Chron gleefully releases the 16-year-old's name and reports that he'll be tried as an adult. No, he's not an adult, but he committed an "adult crime," I guess. Who knows. Who cares. Why even bother having a juvenile justice system if it doesn't apply whenever people don't feel like applying it?
Anyway, moving on to the more traditional "drown-your-kids crazymom" murder:
[Planned Parenthood Spokesmodel Lashaun Harris] told investigators that voices had told her to throw the children into the water, authorities said.
Didn't Andrea Yates complain about voices, too? Well, whatever, I don't remember. What kind of excuse is "voices told me to do it," anyway? When someone tells you to do something, do you do it?
You see, what makes Harris crazy isn't that she hears voices, it's that she actually does what they say, where a normal person would do the exact opposite, just to spite them.
Unfortunately, it's not online, but in the Examiner they had a little box where they talked about the reasons mothers go killing their kids like this. It had some stuff about how mother feel isolated and lonely, unable to turn to anyone, etc. It didn't quite make the connection from "I'm sad," to "I'll throw my kids into the Bay," but I might pick it up again later and provide details.
Update: Okay, I dug up the Examiner. Here we go:
Kathleen Baxter, director of SF's Child Abuse Council:
"Parents feel they have nowhere to turn, they don't have extended family, they might have depression, marital problems, substance-abuse issues, domestic violence. All of these issues play into it."
Marraige therapist Mary Ellen Halloran:
"In some cases, the parent finds himself or herself in such extreme stress and doesn't have any support network, and may be unaware that there's resources available. That leads to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, that spirals down to depression, and then they have no energy to meet the needs of the child."
"We have to put ourself in their place, to imagine what deep pain they must be in to do something like this."
I like my hypothesis: They're crazy. I mean, these folks lost me somewhere between having trouble raising your kids and hearing voices telling you to murder them.
. . .
Still not black
The rally, however, was not aimed at reversing the law.
Black students are not using forums to complain, but are being proactive about the problem, Smith said.
"There is definitely some racism in this country, but on the flip, there should be some responsibility on us as African-Americans," [Brandon Smith] said.
Smith said it is university bureaucracy, rather than racism, that causes black students to feel marginalized on campus.
Interestingly, reversing the law would actually amount to "being proactive," rather than complaining. Blaming the bureaucracy, however, does not. How the bureaucracy can succeed at marginalizing blacks and not everyone else is something I'd love to hear, though.
He said the term "white university" was meant to be equated with how the institution is ran rather than with white people as a whole.
The term "ran" was meant to be refer to how the Daily Cal is run.
"It was a very productive rally," said sophomore Ashley Thomas, an ASUC senator. "It did what it set out to do."
Oh? Let's see... increase minority enrollment... no check... change the way the university deals with black students... no check... I dunno, I'm inclined to disagree with Ms. Thomas.
. . .
Wooo! Gaia kicks generosity's ass!
"People are relief'ed out to a certain extent," [Pakistani Students Association Treasurer Sumrina Yousufzai] said. "Berkeley mobilized so quickly after the tsunami, Katrina and Rita tragedies ... and they've made their donations to all those causes. Since this tragedy is so far from home, a lot of people don't feel like they have to contribute."
Berkeley mobilized quickly after the tsunami? How many months later did the money get sent? Actually... did it even get sent in the end? What kind of mobilization did Berkeley do for Rita?
Students who have noticed the tables and flyers of student relief coalitions but have not yet contributed said the lack of support stems from their busy lives, and not necessarily a lack of caring.
Actually, that's precisely what a lack of caring is. When you'd rather do something else, then you don't care.
"What's stopping me from volunteering? I'm not really doing anything to help out," freshman Christelle Kintonouza said. "I think people, like myself, are absorbed by their own lives. Part of it is time. They don't pay attention to what doesn't directly affect them."
Yes, yes, time and what directly affects them are very closely related topics.
Other students agreed, saying that in addition to their busy schedules, they were not likely to contribute because there is an overabundance of world events to care about, leaving little room for single events.
"It's the same as not giving a dollar to another homeless person," said fifth-year senior Nathan Ng. "It's the fact that it occurs so often. The reason why there aren't more people doing it is the same reason why I don't stop to give a dollar for a good cause. There's just too many to give to."
And therefore, we should give to nobody! Actually, maybe you should donate some funds to the "graduate already, Nathan Ng" fund.
. . .
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Looks like I can take a vacation. UC Berkeley LiveJournal can do my job.
. . .
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Continuing with the "dead rich people are important" theme, the front page of today's Chron was covered by this story and it's huge but completely un-newsworthy headline.
Anyway, under the fold you can find the unimportant stories, like questions of fraud in the Iraq election.
. . .
This is a treat
Usually, people in positions at Cal don't call other people total fucking idiots. Today, Nadesan Permaul, transportation director for Cal, breaks the mold and calls Becky O'Malley an idiot for not being able to figure out the parking ticket dispensers.
Toni Cook can't read, apparently.
Chris Thompson in his East Bay Express Oct. 13 commentary had this to say about Ignacio De La Fuente's candidacy for mayor: "Oakland has another man who wants to be mayor, a nasty little power broker tainted by his role as an arm-twister in state Senator Don Perata's political machine. He's mean, foul-mouthed, and ruthless, and he’d do more for Oakland in a week than Ron Dellums would in four years."
It's too bad that Mr. Thompson doesn’t understand that what he describes as Ignacio's assets are the very attributes that most in Oakland find offensive if not embarrassing.
The article is here. Cook goes on to explain that Ron Dellums, the old guy, is far more inspiring. Of course, that was precisely Thompson's point. While Dellums has purty words and speeches, he doesn't want the job, said he wasn't going to try too hard on it, and would be otherwise ineffective at actually accomplishing things. Oakland needs an asshole in charge.
Ruth Bird is also crazy, but then, who isn't?
. . .
Monday, October 17, 2005
The Examiner reports that some folks in poor neighborhoods are pissed about how nobody cares that they kill each other, "saying the same crimes in affluent areas would be met with outrage and that the city as a whole needs to do more to stem the tide of violence."
"If [shooters] had gone from St. Francis Wood to Pacific Heights to Diamond Heights, you tell me something would not be different … we would all be at the table right now," said [SF Supervisor Sophie Maxwell], whose district includes Potrero Hill and Bayview-Hunters Point.
I'm going to assume that those are rich neighborhoods. I don't know much about San Francisco.
Anyway, almost on cue, The Chron has not one, not two, but three stories on some rich famous guy whose wife died.
. . .
I don't believe this. It couldn't possibly be true.
. . .
It belongs here
Haha. Well done.
. . .
When in Rome...
Apparently, Howard Dean was so influential he got the caption-writer to enthusiastically include two verbs. Unfortunately, it ends up reading:
Howard Dean tries to tie link the governor to the national GOP's ethical problems.
That pretty much sets the tone for the coverage.
The basic argument seems to be that Arnie's initiatives are supported by "special interests." While true, the fact that "special interests" have interests shouldn't come as much of a surprise to most people. And despite our best efforts to value spite over substance, the fact that some people want something isn't, in itself, a reason to reject it.
Dean, the former Vermont governor and 2004 presidential candidate, traveled to California to help Democrats get out to vote for the special election, which both parties believe could be determined by turnout.
Wow! Both parties think that turnout will determine the election? This is amazing. Turnout never determines elections, and the fact that both parties agree is even more astounding!
He said the election will be a warning to the most conservative elements of the Republican Party, which he called "the greatest propaganda machine since Vladimir Lenin."
I guess it speaks for itself.
. . .
Andy wants me to leave something for him on this. That's fine with me. I think it speaks for itself.
. . .
There we go
The Daily Cal wouldn't be complete without yet another one of these:
"The fact is, oil is $60 a barrel. Those high prices are what is driving high gas prices," [Haas dude Severin Borenstein] said. "It's time to start adjusting (to the fact that) we're in a high oil-priced market and the hurricanes didn't help, but they didn't do much."
But the impact the hurricane has on the oil industry is not limited to soaring gas prices, as it threatens to have a sizeable impact on the energy industry.
Yes, the impact is not limited to the thing that the prof just said wasn't the impact.
. . .
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Those violent Nazis. Oh, wait, I mean violent anti-Nazis. It's clear that, when a bunch of Nazis come to your town, the appropriate thing to do is to break and burn things in your town for no particular reason.
You see, these folks were angry because Toledo Mayor Jack Ford "let" the Nazis walk on the sidewalks. They apparently prefer all sidewalk-walking to be pre-approved by the government, as blacks have a great deal of trust in the government's ability to determine whether a person is suspicious and should be stopped/detained/arrested or not.
Anyway, the pictures are pretty... uh... well, just look. Here, while most of the dudes are really into their salute, the guy on the far right just doesn't seem to have the same intensity. "Oh, yeah, the salute. I'll just go through the motions. Because of my jacket, lifting my arm is such a pain. When's dinner?"
You'll notice in this picture, most of the dudes are looking in other directions. The dude in front, though, has noticed the camera, and needs to show off.
. . .
Haha. Remember how we were warned that Sunnis wouldn't vote on the Iraqi constitution, rendering it illegitimate? Well, now, apparently, it will be rendered illegitimate because Sunnis did vote.
. . .
Friday, October 14, 2005
Why is society not doing my work?
Betsy Strange is sad that society doesn't give artists free rides.
When did we turn a blind eye to the fact that maybe an arts community needed protection from the ravages of the marketplace and developers?
Ah, yes, the ravages of the marketplace, which ask that you do something useful. How wrong.
By the way, how much do you think all of these supporters of artists actually spend to support them?
. . .
Here's a neutral headline:
"Union Strike Drags On; Honda Owners Drag Feet"
The feet-dragging claims come directly from the strikers, but are published in the headline without any such qualifier. Nice job.
Dozens of community members and former Berkeley Honda employees picketed in Downtown Berkeley yesterday, marking the end of the fourth month of protests and boycotts over what union members are calling unrightful labor practices.
. . .
How many puns can you fit into an editorial?
Amina Khan finds out. (I'm assuming she's the one who writes them, though feel free to correct me if that's not correct)
. . .
Thursday, October 13, 2005
I'm impressed. Union dude Ed Hawkins is actually willing to put out a letter explaining that public employee union membership is optional in response to a complaint about how public union employees should not be forced to fund their union efforts because they're forced to join. (in contrast with corporate shareholders)
While he is technically correct that they don't have to join the union, they still have to pay dues to the union, which is sort of the relevant point. But it takes balls to put out a comment like Ed's.
. . .
Oh, no, not enough apathy!
"This kind of meeting has tremendous value and importance because it brings the community together to talk about the issues," [CouncilDude Max Anderson] said. "We're not here to point fingers ... (but) to look at data and see what's happening."
The rest of the article is a bunch of finger-pointing.
[CouncilDude Kriss Worthington] said council members like Gordon Wozniak, who has one student appointee despite representing a Southside neighborhood that houses many students, will likely now pay more attention to their appointments.
Yes, the important thing is to get the correct numbers of students. Sure, students are usually not as interested, and know very little about the city. But the numbers are important!!!
. . .
Solar power is great!!!
The demonstration involved handing out smoothies created with solar power.
Aside from raising awareness about the benefits and easy accessibility of solar power, CalPIRG officials said the demonstration was meant to send a message to Chancellor Robert Birgeneau that there is a high demand on campus for renewable energy sources.
Connection challenge: Explain how handing out smoothies created with solar power demonstrates a demand for renewable energy sources. I see how it demonstrates a demand for free smoothies, but not for renewable energy sources.
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I ate my homework
Fight the man!!! There's that law thingie that says drug offenders can't get as much college money from the feds.
But the future of the law is in jeopardy as legislators take their first steps in loosening the provision through a bill that would limit the penalty to students who commit drug crimes while in college.
The remainder of the article contains exactly 0 references to any legislators who are taking steps to loosen the provision.
Critics of the law said it disproportionately affects minority groups and lower and middle-class students from going to college.
Now, you can see by the nonsensical sentence structure that the writer was maybe concerned about the absurdity of the idea. Federal financial aid as a whole disproportionately affects minority and lower and middle-class students, but nobody's throwing any fits over that.
Senior Prathna Mehta said the law forces students to pay for mistakes and that students should not be denied an opportunity like higher education because of it.
Ouch. The law forces students to pay for mistakes! How awful!!! Yes, maybe The Daily Cal screwed up on the quoting, so maybe Prathna deserves some slack, but...
"I think it is discriminatory because it enhances stereotypes," she said. "People who are more well-to-do can get away with (drug offenses)."
What the hell are you talking about now? How does it enhance stereotypes?
But other students said those with prior drug convictions should still pay the price.
"If you really want to go to college then you'll make it happen," said freshman Nicole Carlotto. "There is all kinds of help out there."
In journalism training: "While other students do say 'this,' we won't actually quote any of them. Instead, we'll quote someone who says something completely unrelated."
Maybe the staffers were just stoned when they wrote this piece.
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Your mom is impractical
Sometimes, getting a shot in at private corporations is more important than making sense.
The article appears to be about how graduate students get taught to be academics, and thus suck at non-academic stuff. But suddenly...
Part of the problem could be the rising cost of education as a possible reason for decreasing interest in public service, said Rob Schechtman, Graduate Assembly vice-president for academic affairs.
"Because the cost of education is increasing, students cannot afford to work in the public service sector. This is driving people away from public service sector and towards the corporate sector," Schechtman said.
This may shock folks, but the corporate sector consists of non-academic jobs. That is, grad students are being inadequately trained for those jobs as well, according to the article. Indeed, confusing the academia/non-academia distinction with the private/public distinction (in that order) seems downright backwards.
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Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Read Kim Vogee's letter at the bottom. See if you think something is missing.
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Hollywood doesn't film movies at Cal!!! I'm not quite sure how this is news. Should they? They never filmed movies in my middle-of-Kansas hometown, either, and no one threw a fit.
Even more confusing is the fact that people apparently are unhappy that movies aren't being filmed here. To have movies filmed here, we apparently need to beg them to come by giving them tax breaks and free stuff and inconveniencing locals. In exchange, we get... uh.... um......
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Come on down!
UC Berkeley student Michael Manalang, 21, made the decision to formally "come out" to the UC Berkeley community yesterday as an openly gay man.
The senior, who has already disclosed his homosexuality to his parents and close friends, joined countless men and women across the nation as part of National Coming Out Day.
"It's hard to come out. I've come out to my parents, but I haven't come out to all my friends," said Manalang, a member of Cal Queer and Asian, a campus group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students of Asian descent. "I've come to the point that I don't care what people think. So, if they know, it doesn't even matter."
All right, here's the question. If you don't care what people think, and if it doesn't matter if they know... why bother making a big deal out of "coming out"?
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OMG more death!
"Tickets Kill Skateboarders..."
Oh, their joyrides. Nevermind.
"My thing is, skate at your own risk," [Berkeley city employee dude Brad Ford] said. "It's very simple, it would take care of the city's problems."
Ha. Yeah, whatever you say, dude. No one ever sues when they get hurt for doing something risky or stupid.
"Just like any other sports, risks are taken in skateboarding," [skateboarder Ronnie Dobbs] said. "You have to go into the sport knowing that."
This might come as a shock to a ten-year skateboarder, but other sports also have safety equipment.
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Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Real-World Experience in a closed environment
The GRE has been overhauled, apparently, to make it more relevant to the material covered in grad school.
First, let me summarize my opinion: STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID!!!
The point of these tests is to give graduate admissions dudes more information concerning applicants.
The information that comes from these tests depends on the structure of the test.
If the structure of a test does not change, admissions dudes can use past performance by folks who they've seen actually do work in grad school to evaluate how useful the information from the test is.
If the test changes, the information portrayed by the test changes, and admissions dudes have to start from scratch in determining how useful that information is.
So, even ignoring the question of whether the changes give more useful information, changing tests is not something to be done callously. It seems like it'd be far better to give the 'new' test a new name, too, and let the colleges themselves decide whether they want to use the new test or the old one.
This is why the efforts to change the SAT were so stupid. The problem (if it existed) was not that the SAT wasn't properly representing students, it was that admissions thought the SAT was providing information that it didn't actually provide. As long as admissions folks recognize the value of the SAT, there's no problem, and changing the SAT served only to remove a huge chunk of information that could have been provided to admissions dudes.
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How many years...
Well, it looks like karmatic murder victim Meleia Willis-Starbuck is getting another memorial. Just think of how many memorials they would have for someone who got murdered when it wasn't their fault. From mom:
But that was the whole point to Meleia's life: She always found a way to communicate... a way to be better than you were before you met her.
In fairness to mom, anything could be excised in that quote, but as it reads now, Meleia always found a way to be better than you (from the past).
Even putting that aside though, it's plenty ironic the way she found to communicate ended up getting her killed in this case.
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Numbers are not sexy
In today's SoT column, we get this awesome display of logic:
[By age 17] Four percent of males and 8 percent of females report having sexual experience with the same sex at that age. But 8 percent of males report having had anal sex -- figure that one out.
They're lying! Boys are more gay than they say! Uh... girls don't have assholes, right? Because, you know, if they did, it almost seems possible that boys can have anal sex with girls.
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Well, I've got a complaint about the Daily Cal, but you know how their #1 in web excellence web site is.
I wrote a letter to them mostly repeating what I said here minus the defense of my blog, hoping to blunt the attempt by Darryl Stein to discourage folks from blogging by setting pointlessly high standards (I say "pointlessly high" because blogging isn't about what Stein seems to be trying to get folks to expect). The Daily Cal decided not to publish it, instead giving room to yet another incomprehensible Jessica Chan cartoon and letting "engineer" Richard Sterling publish another long rambling piece that said exactly the same thing as his last one.
Normally I don't care when The Daily Cal snubs me, but getting more bloggers is one of the few causes that actually matters to me, and the Daily Cal ironically dissuades the blogosphere from being more sympathetic to it by discouraging its readers from joining and changing it.
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Monday, October 10, 2005
Today's irony award goes to IB Prof Carole Hickman.
"Intelligent design is not science. The way the world looks right now is the result of natural selection and other processes operating," said Carole Hickman, integrative biology professor and curator of the UC Museum of Paleontology. "There is no supernatural being or force behind this process."
Intelligent design is indeed 'not science.' It doesn't pose or answer a scientific question. But you know what else isn't science? Saying "There is no supernatural being or force behind this process." How would you prove that? If we can only observe the natural, how can we draw conclusions about the presence or absence of a supernatural force?
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Ah, you just don't understand, dude.
Many of the performers, like juggler Jonno Finger, said the elitist nature of both activities was revealed in full at the festival, where different clans drifted to separate corners of the gym.
"There's cliques: The club jugglers won't talk to the ball jugglers, and fire (throwing) is really showy. You don't have to be spectacular to look good," Finger said. "They're more into what you can light on fire than juggling."
Everything's better on fire.
Ice sculpture? Impressive. Ice sculpture on fire? Whoa! That's awesome!
Jumping through a hoop? Meh. Jumping through a hoop on fire, which requires exactly the same amount of skill and puts you in exactly the same amount of danger? Whoa! Get that guy an endorsement deal!
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Darryl Stein is such a dick.
Take the aforementioned Beetle's Yes on Proposition 76 post: "It screws over people currently getting money from the government, which is good!" and admits to not reading the full voter's guide. This is perhaps not the most useful investigation of the proposition in question.
Let's face it, dudes. I'm not the only one who hasn't read the full voter's guide. Besides, he picked the absolute worst post of mine on these initiatives.
I'm not calling him a dick because of that, I'm calling him a dick because he compared that with this. There's nothing wrong with that blog, but the way Stein presents it suggests that if you want to blog, you have to be willing to do research and spend time carefully commenting on issues with evidential support. Because of that, it only discourages people who have better things to do, and the only ones who will join in are those who are, by virtue of their topic, boring.
The awesome power of blogging is that it doesn't require any extra work. This blog takes a few minutes each day just repeating opinions that were bouncing through my head anyway. I read the newspapers as a matter of course, blogging about them doesn't require any extra effort. But doing so does create a community to share ideas and laughs with.
So if you're visiting as a result of Stein's piece, consider starting a blog to just publish your opinionated ideas that you'll have regardless, and don't worry about impressing outside observers with careful research. It's fun, not useful.
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Sunday, October 09, 2005
Stanford wins something.
DARPA is my favorite government agency, by the way.
[DARPA Director Anthony Tether] brushed aside a reporter's question about whether the robotic vehicles tested Saturday might be the first step toward the creation of military killer robots such as those popularized in the Terminator movies.
"We took that first step back in the 1880s, when the first (mechanical) computers were put together," Tether said.
Zing! What kind of dumbass reporter asks a question like that? He should've responded "Do you think that reporters might be the first step towards a new age of McCarthyism?" or something, but I guess his response was pretty good anyway.
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Saturday, October 08, 2005
Finally, the kids are safe
Ha! My kids won't ever be exposed to violence! Thanks, Leland Yee!
Here's a great picture. It doesn't look like they're too happy about it.
Ultraviolent is defined in the law as a game that depicts serious injury to human beings in a manner that is especially heinous, atrocious or cruel.
Another excellent, unambiguous definition.
"Unlike movies, where you passively watch violence, in a video game you are the active participant and making decisions on who to stab, maim, burn or kill," said Yee, who is also a child psychologist. "As a result, these games serve as learning tools that have a dramatic impact on our children."
Now, if only you could show that the impact was negative.
At several stores in San Francisco, the issue of selling M-rated games to minors appeared to be so touchy that store managers declined to answer questions and ordered a reporter to leave.
Or, alternatively, the store has a policy of not having the staff answer questions from reporters, like all intelligently managed stores do.
Anyway, in one of their text-form graphics at the bottom:
Incidents of aggression viewed per month by people playing mature-rated games at least 40 minutes a day, according to the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media.
First of all, are they counting the number of acts of aggression viewed in the game by these game-players, or are they counting the acts of aggression by these people towards others (you know, something that would be relevant to Yee's bitching)?
Secondly, where is the comparison to those who do not play these games at least 40 minutes a day? Would a control kill you? Or would it only kill your point?
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Friday, October 07, 2005
Must eat cow!
Here's some stuff about how folks want UC to divest from Sudan. Unfortunately, the mission of the Regents is to make the university run, so I don't think they really have much moral standing to conduct the divestment. The state legislature, though, does, and this is one of the few times where getting the legislature to say something about international issues is worthwhile. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the legislature is not the target for this movement.
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Remember that Cindy Sheehan lady? You know, the one who craps on her son at every opportunity? Apparently her wild exaggerations are contagious:
Two days earlier, she had been the featured speaker at one of the largest anti-war protests since the Iraq invasion began in 2001.
Ah, yes, the 2001 Iraq invasion. I remember that one. I hear we missed, though, and landed in Afghanistan.
Sheehan, who recently moved to Berkeley, said her son did not want to go to Iraq, but chose to fight because of his sense of obligation to his country and friends.
Actually, that means he did want to go to Iraq.
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Some guy who went to Cal and was named Cal said stuff about his nuclear weapons research:
"I believe strongly in peace through strength and my sincere hope is that these things would never be used, but that they would give us a credible threat which would allow world peace at least at the world war level," Wood said.
"I appreciated the fact that he drew a connection with the current and ongoing war in Iraq that from his perspective that was unjust, it didn't need to happen, because he knew that Iraq had dismantled its weapons of mass destruction," said senior Chelsea Collonge.
Remember that Collonge is one of those "nukes bad!!! RAAAR!!!" folks. Doesn't that mean "Cal Wood bad!!! RAAAR!!!"? No, apparently not, because he said something she agreed with.
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Thursday, October 06, 2005
Victory is in sight
Here's an interesting approach to trying to get some folks in power to let you do something: insult them gratuitiously.
Religious conservatives' outrage at the Oregon law stems from the belief that human life is a gift from God, who puts us here on earth to carry out his will. Thus, the very idea of suicide is anathema, because one who "plays God" by causing his own death, or assisting in the death of another, insults his maker and invites eternal damnation.
If George W. Bush were to contract a terminal disease, he would have a legal right to regard his own God's will as paramount, and to instruct his doctor to stand by and let him suffer until the last bitter paroxysm carried him to the grave. But the Bush administration has no right to force such mindless, medieval misery upon doctors and patients who refuse to regard their precious lives as playthings of a cruel God.
Well, I guess that's the Ayn Rand way. The insults to the core belief systems of huge portions of America do nothing to support Thomas A. Bowden's argument, but they make a good soundbyte! We'll all remember it as he contributes to the failure of his cause.
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