Friday, March 31, 2006
Random tidbit. I saw an interesting online ad for getting chicks interested in the stuff they suck at (math and science, I guess). Here is the image. Actually, the ad is a gif so there's another page that suggests you go to girlsgotech.com. Still, the point remains:
Is that dude holding up that girl to be impaled by arrows while she screams in pain? I don't know if that was the effect they were looking for, but that's what it looks like to me.
. . .
Haha! You fell for gravity!
Oh, so April Fools day is sometime soon, I think. I never much cared for the day, because ridiculously funny things can and do happen every day. Dealing with April Fool's day either means throwing up your hands and assuming that nothing ridiculously funny will happen (and missing it if it does), or actually having to look into stories of the ridiculously funny in order to determine whether it happened or not. What a waste of perfectly good laughing time. April Fools (with apostrophe as appropriate) is a laughter inhibitor, which may be the best April Fools joke of all.
. . .
I bet you wish you educated yourself now
Sorry, all you losers who passed up the awesome educational experience that was AlcoholEdu, but you're out of luck. Here's the e-mail I just received from the AlcoholEdu folks:
Looking for some extra spending money? How about $2,000?
That's the top prize in this year's AlcoholEdu Essay Contest, and if you completed AlcoholEdu this year, you are eligible to enter!
Answer one of the two questions below in 1,000 words or less, and you could win the top prize -- $2,000 CASH. Two runners up will each receive a Pioneer AirWare personal satellite radio player and $55 XM Satellite Radio gift certificate - prizes worth more than $250!
1. What specific parts of the college experience might encourage some students to drink heavily? How do you think college students can promote a healthier social and learning environment? Please comment on ways that AlcoholEdu has helped - or could help more.
2. How has your experience with alcohol prevention on campus affected your decision-making about drinking? Please be specific about how AlcoholEdu has helped you.
Deadline to submit essays: Friday, April 28, 2006.
Further rules here.
The essay must be written in English. How unfair. If you're in a Greek organization, they want to know. Subtle. The release statement:
"I certify that the information provided in this essay is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge. I understand that excerpts from this essay or the entire essay may be used by Outside The Classroom for public outreach related to the competition and 2005-2006 AlcoholEdu Essay Competition."
seems to really put a damper on the fun coefficient. True and accurate? The only way to make it fun is to write it while drunk so that "the best of my knowledge" isn't very impressive.
Outside the Classroom (the dudes who run the thingie) have an e-newsletter: PreventionEdu. Catchy.
. . .
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Everyone knows I like highlighting people's predictions so they can get credit for their great accuracy. Today, we have Marc Groah of Sonoma County:
Well, I have some words for Mr. Bush. If you think that you're going to make it through your second term without being impeached for lying to the American people, then you are dead wrong.
. . .
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
San Franciscan lacks imagination
Yeah, I know, shocking.
Sebastian Wong says:
I can think of no greater reason for the federal government to exist if not to help its most needy citizens.
Not, for instance, defending the country with a military, which can only really be done by a federal government. No, a far greater reason to exist is to help poor people, which can be done by anyone.
. . .
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Well. I'm in a bit of a bind. This year's ASUC elections are apparently so ridiculous that I'm pretty much crippled. It's like trying to make fun of a clown. What are you going to say?
According to folks who are stuck in various loops, CalSERVE will not be running an executive slate, and BEARS United is running Andy Ratto for everything. The elections may finally have someone to run them, but there almost seems to be no point. Are online elections getting implemented this year, too?
. . .
For those of you who have been fuming, gloating, or mehing over the study by that one dude over how conservatives were whiny growing up, The Volokh Conspiracy has been covering it pretty well. Here are my main gripes with the study:
1. Irrelevant. The authors insist that they are making no claims about people in general, but that the trends are valid within the study. Granting them this, the study becomes completely useless, and should not be published. Who cares? Who are these people in the study? Would knowing something about them help understand anything at all, if it can't be generalized? Apparently, this is a common feature of these kinds of studies, but while this is offered as a defense, it looks to me more like an indictment of the entire field.
2. Biased. This is pretty obvious just from the word choice used to describe attributes. The first comment from the link above, for instance, points this out:
"At age 23, relatively Liberal young women are assessed independently as: vital, motivationally aware, perceptive, Xuent, bright, with extensive and esthetic interests, somewhat non-conforming. Relatively Conservative young women were characterized as: conservative, uneasy with uncertainties, conventional, as sex-typed in their personal behavior and social perceptions, emotionally bland, appearing calm, and candid but also somewhat moralistic."
Every characteristic is loaded by language to sound good (if liberals have it) and bad (if conservatives have it). Uneasy with uncertainties? How about uncomfortable with moral relativity, having a defined sense of right and wrong. Emotionally bland? How about dependable, emotionally stable. On the other hand, liberals are described as vital, motivationally aware, non-conforming (but not too non-conforming!), perceptive, and bright.
It's obvious that this study is nothing more than name-calling. Yes, of course it has problems with its methodology. But, in my view, that's the least damning of its many problems.
Any one could rewrite the above list to sound negative to liberals and positive to conservatives.
Liberals were indulgent, ostentatious, hedonistic, overly sympathetic to criminals and sinners, and relatively selfish. Conservatives, on the other hand, had a defined sense of right and wrong, believed in personal responsibility and self-sacrifice, displayed emotional stability, and were more likely to appreciate the benefits of family life.
3. Opaque. The study doesn't make clear where on the political spectrum people fall. It doesn't describe how many were conservative, how many were liberal, how many were moderate, etc. It only looks at correlations, which deal with relative positions. Jim Lindgren argues that it likely is a comparison between liberals and moderates.
. . .
SF wants to ban smoking at bus stops. Berkeley already does. Meh, whatever. Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, however, has a problem with this, because it will mostly affect poor people. What's his solution?
Find a random place where rich people go, and ban smoking there.
The committee will also take up Supervisor Jake McGoldrick's amended version of the bill, which bans smoking at public golf courses, next week. McGoldrick said only banning smoking at bus stops would constitute class inequality.
"It's usually people that have lesser income that are using the bus stop and people with greater income that use the golf course," McGoldrick said.
. . .
Ask, but don't tell
Some Quaker, Bob Burnett, talks about Tom Fox, the Quaker who got executed in Iraq. In a reference to a Bob Dylan song, he asks "Who Killed Tom Fox? Why and What's the Reason For?" Interestingly, he answers the last two questions, but not the first. Why? What's the reason for?
. . .
Is this an editorial in what claims to be a legitimate news source complaining about the interior decorating choices of Duke Cunningham? Yeah, it is.
. . .
Monday, March 27, 2006
In the meantime, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., last week attacked some provisions of the House bill that Frist appears to be supporting, saying it "would literally criminalize the good Samaritan and probably even Jesus himself."
Get the picture?
Yeah. Hillary is fucking nuts.
. . .
Haha. Oh, man.
What is this? Do these people really sleep at night?
On March 14, 2006, the AP did their own article, left out any attribution to me or my publication and lifted not only my research but also whole sections of my article for their own (making cosmetic changes of course).
We contacted an AP senior editor and ombudsmen both and both admitted to having had the article passed on to them, and both stated that they viewed us as a blog and because we were a blog, they did not need to credit us.
Again, none of my business, but I thought people might like to know that the major wire news service in the country does not consider plagiarism to be... well... plagiarism. Any journalism schoolers want to defend this? It'll be fun!
. . .
Sunday, March 26, 2006
You've got to be fucking kidding me
Chris Page passes along some fascinating information. Whenever the GA has something to do with the Judicial Council, three members of the Judicial Council who were not nominated by the GA get kicked off.
Seriously, how fucking insane is this? Just get your damn independence. Don't act like petulant children like this, demanding that "Oh, wah, we want to make our own law, but retain all the benefits of being part of the ASUC."
I hope someone has the balls to fight the GA on this. Last year, the ASUC senate caved faster than a cave on Jupiter when the GA threw a hissy fit.
. . .
Saturday, March 25, 2006
This is one of the stranger things I've read. Some Christian dudes came to protest, I guess, popular culture, calling for a "Battle Cry for a Generation." But while most elites bitch about popular culture, they'll defend it when it gives them a chance to hate Christians, apparently.
Surpsisingly, the... uh... "protest" was condemned by the city. Officially. Like, resolution-passing officially.
They even managed to draw a... um... "counterprotest," including such characters as this.
That's bad news to Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who told counterprotesters at City Hall on Friday that while such fundamentalists may be small in number, "they're loud, they're obnoxious, they're disgusting, and they should get out of San Francisco."
You know, a lot of people say similar things about gays. But it's okay when it's the Christians you're being a bigot towards.
"Are you ready to go to battle for your generation?" [protest leaderdude Ron Luce] asked, and the young people roared "yes!" and some waved triangular red flags flown from long, medieval-looking poles.
Medieval-looking poles? How much has the concept of a "pole" evolved since medieval times? In the picture I linked above, you can see some poles with flags on them. They're long thin rods. You know... poles. Medieval-looking, apparently, as opposed to modern poles, which are long thin rods. Here's another picture, where you can see the pole towards the right. That looks like PVC pipe. Medieval PVC pipe, apparently. With letters printed on the side of it, just like in medieval times.
"There is a real intolerancy to homosexuality in a lot of these organizations," said Peter Cobb, an organizer with Not In Our Name.
Not In Our Name is an anti-war group. You have a person from an anti-war group going out of his way to protest some people because they are Christians, despite how they are saying nothing about the war. And yet he is complaining about "a real intolerancy."
Earlier this week, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution condemning the "act of provocation" by what it termed an "anti-gay," "anti-choice" organization that aimed to "negatively influence the politics of America's most tolerant and progressive city."
See, you think the above was in "italics" tags, but it was actually in "irony" tags. "No! Keep that opinion away from our tolerant city!!!"
"Even if it is done by a Barnum & Bailey crowd with a tent and some snake oil, I think we need to pay attention to it," said Supervisor Tom Ammiano, who authored the condemnation resolution. "We should not fall asleep at the wheel."
Yeah, you've got to keep an eye on those Muslims. They may look harmless, but turn your back on them, and WHAM!!! Wait, did I say Muslims? I meant Christians. Heh. We'd never say such a thing about Muslims. We're tolerant here.
. . .
Friday, March 24, 2006
More wasted money
Meanwhile, over at page 24 of this thingie, we can see a description of another self-imposed fee increase. I should note first, however, one of the previous page's whereases:
a financial model in which revenue is driven by a mandatory student fee rather than by user fees is the model used at every other university in the UC system and would allow for a lower cost of access to the RSF for a given user;
Where's the "but will cause a much higher cost for all non-users" whereas?
Do you approve this mandatory fee to reduce the cost of membership to the Recreational Sports Facility (RSF) and allow students with financial need to acquire assistance for RSF membership?
Well, that's a pretty pleasant way of putting it. All throughout the referendum, this framing is used. What is not used:
Do you approve this mandatory fee to offset some of the cost of membership to the Recreational Sports Facility (RSF) from those who use it to those who do not use it?
Well, whatever. Here's another self-imposed fee increase that is almost guaranteed to pass, because so many people on campus wouldn't have to pay for it.
. . .
Not this shit again
More demands for Graduate Assembly Quasi-Independence. GA members still apparently lack the balls to form an independent government for graduate students, but now want the ASUC to give them special consideration, and it looks like only Ben Narodick has any concern for what's best for the ASUC by opposing this.
The three parts are, apparently, (and according to the Daily Cal article, so take with appropriate salt):
1. The GA can formally disagree with the ASUC about stuff. The oddity of this, in the absence of actual autonomy for the GA, is notable, but I don't see how this is relevant, or even a meaningful change, so hey, fine by me.
2. At least 3 members of the Judicial Council are graduate students. This is the dumbest idea ever, and should be the focal point of our (doomed-to-failure) attempts to defeat this. I'll go over this in more detail, but we need to mention number 3 first.
3. GA pays 12%, or proportion of voters who are graduate students, when it comes to elections.
Looking at 3, the concern seems to be that, since graduate students aren't all that interested in the ASUC, they shouldn't have to foot the bill for most of it. Let's not ignore, however, that graduate students pay nothing (yes, nothing) for the functioning of the ASUC outside of the GA. All of our fees go towards the GA.
Now, consider point 2. Even though the GA only wants to be responsible for the proportion of elections that we vote for, they want to be responsible for a proportion of judicial decision-making that is far greater. Should undergrads push for a "6 or more members of the Judicial Council should be undergrads" demand? It seems reasonable, since we're apparently no longer interested in putting people on the Judicial Council in accordance with their talent and interest in the ASUC.
Now, if you're interested in the actual text, head over to page 28 or so on this thingie, which I think is accurate, though I wouldn't know. The description in the Daily Cal is, unsurprisingly, inaccurate, as far as point 2 is concerned. The change is that six spots will be nominated by the president and confirmed by the senate, as is the case now, and the other three are nominated by the GA. Notably, unless I'm misreading this, the senate can still refuse to confirm the nominees.
The Memorandum of Understanding holds the GA responsible for paying for some old elections. I don't know if these numbers are lower than they used to be.
It also demands that the Judicial Council change its rules "to better serve Graduate Students in cases dealing with the Graduate Assembly. These changes must be done in such a way as to grant an opportunity for equal representation of Graduate justices and Undergraduate justices in all cases dealing with the Graduate Assembly." I'm not entirely sure what that entails, though.
. . .
Whoops! Our bad
Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy, the group that invited PETA's completely non-controversial visit earlier this week, has apologized for it. I guess they get some points for doing so, though you have to wonder what they were expecting from PETA. This is what PETA does.
. . .
Jerry Brown, who is a bit whiter than you would expect a mayor of Oakland named "Brown" to be, had some stuff to say, but after you filter it through the Daily Cal reporting filter, it becomes some very strange stuff to say.
His main strategy for work as an attorney general is similar to his approach in overseeing Oakland for the past eight years, with a focus on reducing crime and establishing charter schools to improve the city from the ground up, he said.
Yes, apparently, establishing charter schools is part of the duty of the Attorney General.
"You cannot treat 'unequals' equally," he said. "Everyone wants to distribute things equally but that just doesn't work."
All right, so he's an elected official talking about schools, so you sort of know what he's trying to say. But strip away that background, plop a white hood on his head, and read the same quote, and you'll be surprised at what you see.
. . .
Hold on to your newspapers!
Another candidate for mayor. As expected, Zelda Bronstein will be running against Tom Bates. Zachary RunningWolf is also running, because every election needs its joke candidate.
I think Berkeley could better use someone like Shirley Dean. Bates has had a far-too-cordial three years, and cordial years mean stupid ideas from the government.
I also think The Daily Cal should have a policy of mentioning, in every story even vaguely related to Bates, his newspaper-stealing days, defending it as "disclosing a conflict of interest that may shade our coverage."
. . .
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Can you believe this?
Of course not. The only way I could believe it if The Daily Cal was simply repeating, in less detail, a story that was covered almost exactly two weeks ago by the Easy Bay Express.
But such a thing couldn't possibly have happened.
. . .
Well, that's convincing
Frank Bien and Bill Bivins defend the wasting of government resources for their useless children:
As fathers of mentally and physically disabled daughters who attend San Francisco public schools, we are grateful for these protections every day. Thanks to the teachers and paraprofessionals who work in our schools, our children are learning and making friends. But does our kids' presence in the classroom detract from the education of all the "normal" kids?
Actually, it enhances it. Teachers and parents tell us how much our daughters enrich the experience of all kids, and research shows that successful inclusion of special-ed students has a positive impact on the education of all children.
That would be interesting research to see, but does the idea that "Teachers and parents tell us" such really seem all that convincing? What would they say if it wasn't true? "Your retarded children suck! Get them out of our schools!" Yeah, probably not.
. . .
A little too honest
Here's an interesting editorial:
The Bush White House lost its credibility on the Iraq war before the first shot was fired.
The rush to war was prompted by what proved to be false pretext: That Saddam Hussein's regime was armed with weapons of mass destruction.
The Chron is letting its colors show a bit too much. Note that, the "false pretext" was "proved to be" such after the first shot was fired. It must have already lost its credibility by then. This is, of course, true for the Chron. He had probably already lost credibility by daring to be a Republican.
. . .
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
The clowns go marching...
A lot of clowns today.
The constantly present Ron Lowe, on election theft:
I bet if you checked, anti-abortion Republicans have won all suspect and disputed elections in 2000, 2002 and 2004.
Now, normally, when you want to make such an accusation, you'd check yourself. But hey, let's just assume it's true. It could easily imply that pro-abortion folks are whiners who have no understanding that they are not a majority and will fight in whatever ridiculous fashion they can in order to win.
Linda M. Smith decides to give us a caricature of the "Love is gooooood!!!" attitude:
I personally find that if you love yourself and are gentle to yourself and self-nurturing, you're not going to be cruel or very difficult on other people.
I find this to be true, as well. The reason, however, is because I have no responsibility. I don't run a country. I don't keep a corporation operating. While Smith represents this problem to the power of infinity, this is actually a common thing among "RAAAAAR!!! Peace is good!!!" and "RAAAAAR!!! Violence is bad!!!" people. They see, in their lives, that hey, peace is good and violence is bad, because their responsibility barely extends beyond themselves. They then figure it must be like this for everyone, and apply the concept to those who have far broader responsibilities, and who can't simply say "PEACE!!!" and walk away from their duties, mission accomplished.
Curtis Stone has something to say about the cartoon thingie, but I don't know what it is. Something about chaos theory, foxes, hares, and butterflies.
. . .
The audience was heavily populated by geeks whose idea of news is the latest wrinkle in electronic technology, but included a number of members who also have some connection to the real world, including reporters from the San Francisco Chronicle and the Contra Costa Times.
An amazing thing to hear from Becky O'Malley, who lives in a bubble even for Berkeley.
Although there's a lot of good stuff on the Web if you know where to look, much of Blogsville is inhabited by people who haven't quit their day jobs, and have not much to offer except opinion within a narrow range of experience.
In the real blogsville (not the one I chill in), this is accurate, though in the opposite way that O'Malley thinks. Indiviudally, blogs are useless. Collectively, they are an expert on every topic. The incompetence and bias of the "real" reporters when it comes to actually reporting the stuff they find is now easily visible because someone in blogsville always knows better. So yeah, we need journalists to gather news, we just don't need them to report it anymore.
. . .
Ugh, the... uh... alphath
Dumb commentary? Unheard of!
"Operation Swarmer," depicted as targeting "strongholds of 'suspected militants' in Samarra," is a barbaric onslaught and slaughter of innocent Iraqi children, women and men.
The children! Save them! This is terrible!!!
If you're interested in what the operation actually entails, you might ask a military dude, like this one who seems to think it's a really boring operation that deserves no "Think of the children" hysteria.
Redford Givens argues that the pot candy is not bad because it would take hundreds of pounds to kill a child. I should also note that shooting Redford Givens in the foot would not be bad, because that wouldn't kill him.
. . .
Monday, March 20, 2006
Radio review number 2
Show 2 from Alex Marlow.
Assuming I'm the blog mentioned, I wonder if I should be worried that the folks on the show are, in response, "working on him."
The piece on BAMN was somewhat snarky, essentially the content of what a Beetle Beat blog post would be if I had the patience to write a 30-minute post, including my favorite that the minority student body president was facing a racist campus. I can appreciate the fun of it, as it is simply Alex and Andro Quinio sitting around and talking about the idiocy of the comments at one of those BAMN public hearings on racism or something-or-other. Whether that's the depth they want is something I'll leave up to them, but it can be a fun listen. I'd recommend more ridiculous analogies, as those are often fun.
Anyway, admittedly I was half-distracted, so meh.
. . .
Ooh, that will work
Got a problem? Don't solve it. Poetry slam it!
"(Youth Speaks) is trying to create articulate, dedicated young people who want to see change in their futures," said program director Paul Flores.
Ah, yes, poetry slammers are taken very seriously and have great opportunity to bring about change.
[Milani Pelley] said she uses poetry as a means to express the problems she sees in the world on a daily basis.
"If I see something wrong, it gets me," she said. "Some people dance, some people draw, some people punch walls, but I just write about it."
Some people try to solve the problem, too.
. . .
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Another solution for the world
Michael A. Carnacchi has a solution for Iraq. Yes, the entire thing.
Let me suggest that this is the simple solution to our complex problem.
Let me suggest that you read his idiotic idea. And then pick yourself up off the floor.
. . .
It's impossible to determine what average Iraqis think about it. It's way too dangerous for reporters to wander the cities and countryside asking the question.
I didn't realize that "way too much" is proper journalistic convention.
. . .
With news like this, who needs opinion?
When the U.S.-led coalition attacked Iraq three years ago, the Bush administration was brimming with confidence that this would be a war only in the sense that a lot of bombs would be dropped and the military would seize, temporarily, a foreign capital. It was going to be swift, high-tech, clean.
Really? I, for one, remember a lot of talk from Rumsfeld saying specifically that this would not be the case. But hey, when you make things up, I guess it's easier to attack the Bush administration.
. . .
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Too much pun
Pot Tarts. Stoney Ranchers. Well, you get no points for creativity. (Aren't there
copyright trademark issues here? They even use the same fonts and designs) I'm just waiting for the cartoon character.
Look here, "medical marijuana activists"/potheads. If you want to be seen as professionals providing a medicine to those in need, rather than a bunch of potheads trying to make it easier to get high, it would help if you actually acted like a bunch of professionals providing a medicine to those in need, rather than a bunch of potheads trying to make it easier to get high. People who take medicines for all kinds of ailments manage to pull it off without putting it in candy or toaster pastry form.
Ideology only goes so far for most people. If they just don't like your attitude, they'll sweep their beliefs about freedom under the rug.
Update: Uh... well, IANAL, after all.
Update 2: On the other hand, I suddenly have the urge to read Pop Tarts: The Novel.
. . .
Friday, March 17, 2006
UC officials said yesterday that since they could not determine an exact dollar amount until divestment, they would not reveal the value of the holdings in the nine selected companies.
Since they didn't know, they wouldn't reveal it. How interesting.
Anyway, according to the Chron, the Daily Cal is simply incorrect. (SHOCK!)
University officials refused Thursday to indicate the approximate dollar amount of the investments to be shed or what percentage of the university's $4 billion foreign-investment portfolio would be divested, saying that premature disclosure could affect the market for its shares.
I report, you decide which of the reporters is actually reporting.
. . .
Jaw, meet floor
Holy crap wow. After a flurry of nudging things aside and skipping process as necessary in order to move the elections back a few weeks, the Daily Cal disapproves.
But even relief can't iron out the the situation's rough spots. For one, it's troubling how easily Executive Vice President Anil Daryani dropped his lawsuit against the senate, even though he said he'd filed suit to protect the bylaws.
Don't get us wrong. We're certainly not complaining about the fact that ASUC has come to a compromise. But the way that the political players went about it is worrisome.
If Daryani and Buenrostro's attitude is the prevailing one, ASUC may simply end up trying to run roughshod over these legislative potholes, instead of addressing them after elections season.
But there are too many problems to ignore. ASUC has yet to determine the balance of power between the executive and legislative branches, or work out the conflicting messages of the ASUC Constitution and bylaws. Just because ASUC members dropped their differences in the midst of a crisis, it doesn't mean the issues have vanished.
Let's rewind a week and see what The Daily Cal said:
Daryani argued the bylaws require a two-thirds majority to change the elections date, not a simple majority. Senators countered that the ASUC Constitution, which overrules the bylaws, allows for a simple majority. It's clear why the Judicial Council took up the case: A court decision could address the gray area between the Constitution and bylaws.
At any other time, we'd applaud such clarification. But right now, instead of having five months to prepare, neophyte Elections Council Chair Jessica Wren has four weeks.
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. A week ago, we needed to put aside the silly details such as procedure and get a plan in place. Now, we shouldn't have put aside the silly details such as procedure in order to get a plan in place.
. . .
Another BDP Sprint
One, two, here we... uh... goo!
Yaman Salahi, on the lashing that isn't lashing:
The opening sentence of the article is that students have ambiguously "lash[ed] out against" the Cal Patriot in response. Unfortunately, this "lashing out" merely constitutes an isolated incident involving the disposal of a number of magazines, the mere opinions of campus Muslims that were offended by the publication, two editorials in the Daily Cal condemning the publication, and an educational event on the life of Muhammad on Thursday evening organized by the Cal Muslim Student Association.
I think that list is a bit too long to support his point. Now, when he writes "disposal of a number of magazines," we're talking about the paper-theft that is a tradition here on campus, right? Are we hiding actions behind euphemisms?
Romila Khanna's dictatorial tendencies are showing:
Can we not become a society where guns are handed out only to the police? Let our sense of looking out for our neighbors be the basis of security in our society.
I want to draw attention to the phrase "handed out." Her complaint is about how druggies and nutters and such get guns, which can and does occur illegally. In Khanna's ideal society, goods are apparently "handed out" by "society." This is apparently the natural way of thinking for this person.
The Daily Planet falls for what looks very much like astroturfing from Peter M. Toluzzi.
. . .
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Two Bay Area Village Voice alt-weeklies, The East Bay Express, and The SF Weekly, ran the same feature story. Finally, The SF Guardian has something to validly dance about.
Update: SFist blames the New Times/Village Voice merger. I'm somewhat skeptical, since both were New Times papers and I don't know of any Village Voice papers they picked up in the area, so it's not obvious why they would have a policy shift. That said, I'm not too well-versed on the details of the merger, so if anyone who actually follows this stuff wants to pipe up, go ahead.
. . .
Did I mention Carole Migden is a woman? Yes, yes I did.
But she has more. For those of you who aren't up to date with all the idiocies induced by bleeding hearts without any recognition of the requirement for some kind of philosophy of government (i.e. by women), Migden is sponsoring a bill that requires Wal-Mart to pay more for health care because some of their employees still use government assistance.
All told, 37,000 Wal-Mart employees are without basic health-care coverage and insurance. The resultant cost to California taxpayers is a staggering $86 million: $32 million in medical services and health-care insurance, and an additional $54 million in public-subsidy programs, such as food stamps, earned income tax credits, subsidized-school lunches and subsidized housing, according to the Labor Center studies.
This is a fascinating counting method. Normally, when talking about the cost of something, you would say "this something, if it wasn't here, would mean we'd have $X more dollars. But because this something is here, we have to spend it." But if you're a woman like Carole Migden, this is the wrong way to count. We aren't going to compare the cost on the government for Wal-Mart employees and the unemployed, as would make sense. Instead, we'll say "Hey, Wal-Mart, if you're going to hire people, we'll hold you responsible for the costs that we would've incurred anyway had you not hired them."
A few business groups claim that SB1414 is "picking on Wal-Mart," that SB1414 does not go far enough because it does not require employer-mandated health care for all Californians; others claim it's a form of government intrusion. To the first, I say, everything of consequence that I have sought in 15 years of elective life has come from incremental achievements that lead to broad gains.
Incremental enforcement! Why, I think we should raise smoking taxes. But only for black people. Increments, dude. Increments.
To the second, I say, that Wal-Mart has elected to be a target (no pun intended); SB1414 does not single out Wal-Mart, in concept. It sets forth a legal requirement that any company with a workforce of 10,000 or more must reimburse the state for health-care costs of its employees or dedicate 8 percent of its payroll toward employee health coverage.
Oh, well, that's okay, then. You know that smoking tax? It's not only for black people. It's actually only for people for whom the amount of light reflecting off of their skin makes it look dark. When you pick your number specifically so that the specific target of your wrath is the only one affected, you are singling it out.
"No, officer, I wasn't trying to punch him in the face. I merely punched the space that his face occupied, specifically because that space was occupied by his face. He really elected to get punched in the face by having his face there, even though, had his face been somewhere else, the space I would've punched would've been that same somewhere else."
Wal-Mart's prominence and profits are unchallenged in America, and in years ahead Wal-Mart will spread throughout the world. Legislators are not picking on Wal-Mart: Was David looking for a fight with Goliath?
Just so we're clear: The government of California is claiming to be a David, compared to the Goliath of Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart employs 52,000 dudes in California. How many dudes does the government of California employ?
Wal-Mart has the power and the wherewithal to stop the legislative revolt against its practices. Wal-Mart has a choice to set up and do the right thing for its employees, its customers, the families and shoppers.
Wal-Mart can introduce a real employee health plan, step up and stop legislators from resorting to legislative solutions to problems that can be solved with Wal-Mart's resolve.
Hmm... interesting concept. Let's see how else we can apply it.
"We wouldn't have to make it illegal for you to criticize the government if you would simply never try."
"If you would just give me your money voluntarily, I wouldn't have to mug you. You really only have yourself to blame."
. . .
Yay! Students on some boring commission somewhere! Now students have adequate power!!!
Let's see what Kriss Worthington thinks is the appropriate role for Nicholas Smith, chair of a government commission.
Worthington said Smith's connections make him a good fit for the chairmanship.
"(Smith) doesn't just go to the meetings, he shows up at the picket lines," Worthington said.
Now that's a government we can trust to be fair!
Smith said he looks forward to implementing a clause in the city's labor policies that will prohibit employers from bullying employees and raise the minimum wage while serving both students and the Berkeley community.
Boy, is that sentence cramped. Employers aren't allowed to bully employees, eh?
. . .
Water! Is that person pushing the thingie with her hands? That's totally cheating.
. . .
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Too lazy to do individual posts today, so we'll do them all at once:
BART employs the "no one died" defense of their policies.
Binh Au feels that no one ever has any individual choice whatsoever, and therefore we need a suicide barrier. Of course, he had no choice but to write the letter, so we shouldn't take it seriously.
James Boo is a nerd even in his columnification. Sure, he was novel and entertaining at first, but we're all sick of his overanalysis of every single fucking thing in the world. Do you really need to come up with a rational explanation including things like "exploratory imaginatory woohooness" for why you don't drink? Is "I never really felt like it" too hard to say?
. . .
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
That looks like fun
New buses! Quiet buses! Yay!
But [bus driver Kenneth Moore] said he enjoys the quieter buses.
"Sometimes I'll pull up to a bus stop with the new bus and people won't even realize I'm there," Moore said.
I fail to see how that would be enjoyable to a bus driver. Wouldn't that just piss him off, because the dumb fucking passenger is taking forever to get on the damn bus?
. . .
Let's see. Some murderer dude becomes a priest dude in prison, and comes to Berkeley.
After [muderer dude James Tramel]'s release on Sunday, his fiancee Stephanie Green, who is also a pastor, drove him directly to the Berkeley church, where he was greeted by about 60 congregation members, [congregation chick Laura Peterson] said.
"The applause seemed to go on forever. We had been hoping for so long that he would be released, but a lot of us were just stunned," Peterson said. "We are ecstatic."
Wow. Imagine the welcome he would've gotten if he hadn't murdered someone. Less? Oh. Okay, then.
. . .
Find the disagreement:
The panel began with a debate over whether it is appropriate for journalists to publicly express their opinions and political leanings regarding the topics they cover.
"I thought it was a terrible idea at the beginning and then I really turned against it," said Mark Danner, a UC Berkeley journalism professor, to the applause of the capacity crowd.
Jackie Spinner, staff writer and former Baghdad bureau chief for the Washington Post, disagreed, arguing that journalists are meant to report the news and thus should not tout their own ideologies publicly or privately.
"I believe very fervently that it is not appropriate for me as a journalist to express an opinion about the war," Spinner said.
I'm going to guess Michael Kay and the editorial staff fucked up when it came to context here, because as written, it sounds like the two folks who "disagree" with each other are saying the exact same thing.
. . .
Save lives today!!! Also, increase your penis size.
Sixty years ago, the world stood silently by as six million Jews were consigned to flames in Auschwitz and other factories of death. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, humanity pledged never again to be complacent in the face of genocide. Sadly, we failed to keep that promise in Cambodia, Bosnia, and Rwanda. In our own day, we have allowed the genocide in Darfur to rage unabated for three agonizing years.
Jeannie Biniek and Adam Greenwald proceed to explain how we have failed by saying all the crappy things that happened. They really could've made the argument by directly following with:
Today, UC students are leading the fight to end Darfur's nightmare.
On March 16, the UC Regents will decide, once and for all, whether UC takes the lead in fighting genocide. Your presence at the meeting, set to begin at 8 a.m. on the UCLA campus, is the most concrete thing you can do right now to save lives in Darfur.
This paints a far grimmer picture. Is this really what it takes to lead the fight? Showing up to whine at some old guys who have control of some money?
. . .
It's a bad day.
Unfortunately, less attention has been given to the merits of the state Supreme Court's opinion and more to Berkeley's image. Take the Reuters headline, "Calif. court backs liberal city over Boy Scouts." Aside from the fact that this is inaccurate-the case involved the Sea Scouts, not the Boy Scouts-this issue was ultimately in the state's hands, not the city's.
Wrong on both counts. The reason the Sea Scouts were losing their subsidy was not because they discriminate, but because they were associated with the Boy Scouts, which discriminate. So the case did involve Berkeley attacking the Boy Scouts, with the Sea Scouts just being the battering ram. The issue was not ultimately in the state's hands. The court was a state court, but the sides of the debate were the Sea Scouts and the city of Berkeley. Berkeley didn't need to throw a fit, and had they left it alone, no state inspectors would come and demand that action be taken.
. . .
And, of course, a giant op-ed response about how the MSA is not going to respond, from Khalid Mansour.
Healthy dialogue and a melting pot of ideas make the university atmosphere unique and a center of enlightenment. When a topic of debate or interest comes to the forefront, we can gather as a community of educated and tolerant individuals that can discuss the history, deeper implications and complexity of the issue. Such open-minded discussions and debate are worthy of the great intellects that comprise the student body here at UC Berkeley.
I agree. Open discussion and debate is important. We shouldn't hide unsightly details under the rug to... oh, wait, it continues...
It is rather disheartening and disappointing to hear that a student publication would actually publish the cartoons that were seen as hurtful, narrow-minded, bigoted, racist and Islamophobic by the majority of all those who have seen them.
Oh. Well. Nevermind all that about open debate. While we should debate these cartoons, we shouldn't actually show them. That's how open debate works. And I would be careful about speaking for the "majority of all those who have seen them." From what I've seen, that isn't accurate, as most folks just don't see what the big deal is.
An incorrect assumption is made that some external pressure is made on publications all over the United States from a fictitious Muslim influence that is preventing them from publishing the cartoons. In reality, what is preventing publications from printing such inflammatory images and viewpoints is nothing more than respect for their image and common-sense tact.
This is why news organizations shied away from showing "Piss Christ." Actually, now that I think about it...
. . .
We declare the issue settled
If only irony scored points. The argument seems to be that the debate on these cartoons is completely over. This is, of course, false. Those of us who look with a critical eye towards major press keep this incident in the back of our minds whenever newspapers try to convince us that they should be trusted as the arbiters of "what should be known." The cowardly flight of major news media, setting up the "threaten to kill us, and you can tell us what to cover" incentive structure, has not been forgotten.
In fact, we thought we'd covered this issue when the UC Irvine College Republicans showcased the cartoons a couple of weeks ago. The message then-that sensationalism solves nothing-still holds. You'd think the Patriot would get it.
"We declared the issue settled. How dare someone disagree?"
Printing the cartoons so late in the game amounts to little more than a waste of good ink.
The Daily Cal has no grounds to talk negatively about wasting good ink on cartoons.
. . .
Accuracy is for squares
I could write an essay on the errors here.
Students at UC Berkeley are lashing out against a conservative campus publication that reprinted two Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammed
The extent of lashing seems pretty minimal. In fact, the MSA folks are making a huge deal out of the fact that they're not making a huge deal out of this, which might seem somewhat ironic.
Islamic law forbids images of the prophet.
Not "some interpretations of Islamic law forbid images of the prophet." Because that would be too accurate, and we can't have that.
"I think it's really outrageous that they have the audacity to print it," said Dena Takruri, a senior, and member of the Cal Muslim Student Association. "Not only are they insulting a community, they're defaming a religion."
The audacity! They are supposed to only do things I approve of. It takes audacity to not consider me dictator. And defaming a religion? In what way? When I think of the defamation of Islam, I think of folks who call for murder in its name.
A total of 12 cartoons printed by the Danish newspaper, and reprinted elsewhere, have triggered massive unrest in the Islamic world. Rioting claimed the lives of dozens, and Danish embassies in some Muslim countries were attacked.
Hum. Are you sure it wasn't triggered by a Muslim cleric who went on tour with these 12 cartoons, as well as 3 others of unknown origin, in order to piss Muslims off?
"The Cal Patriot is not an intellectual publication and does not merit an intellectual response," Takruri retorted. "(They) printed the cartoons to be audacious and to instigate an angered response. They should know, however, that our community will not stoop to their level."
You sound pretty angry, Dena.
"I think it's quite disappointing," said Rafay Khalil, treasurer of the Cal Muslim Student Association. "[Muhammed] is one of the most beloved figures for Muslims. Unfortunately, this is only going to increase Islam-phobia and racism on campus."
Really? Name someone who saw this article and decided "Muslims are evil" or "Arabs can't be trusted." It shouldn't be hard, considering how much Islamophobia and racism are going to be increased.
. . .
Call the wambulance!
More dumb commentary on the "OMG, people are actually paying attention to our protests? UNFAIR!!!" lawsuit.
The anti-war activities "seemed so far afield from collecting threats to military bases," [ideological ambulance-chaser Lisa Sitkin] said.
When anti-war protesters freely admit that their goal is to sabotage military efforts, you can't really complain when the military keeps a suspicious eye on them.
In March, the student government had approved a resolution "condemning the immoral occupation of Iraq and banning the presence of military recruiters (on campus)," [fake student Matthew Taylor] said. However, the resolution was ignored by the administration and recruitment continued.
Ignored by the administration? It seems that a full story would include the minor detail that it was the student government that was ignoring the fact that they had no authority to ban recruiters from campus.
The DOD's spying on the students is part of the bigger picture where citizen rights have been under attack over the last few years, Taylor said. "They don't want anyone who speaks out to be heard."
Ah, yes, our rights under attack. Which rights? When haven't we been able to speak out? Come on, those are real questions, so they won't be asked.
Not only do such counterintelligence activities violate privacy rights, they are counterproductive, [ACLU lawyer Schlosberg] added. In casting a net "far too wide and not delineating between peaceful protests and acts of terrorism, they end up overwhelming law-enforcement officials," he said.
Privacy rights? We have rights to publicly protest the government, yet still expect privacy? And, again, these groups have threatened acts of terrorism. If the government doesn't keep an eye out for people before they do terrorism, there isn't going to be much prevention. And then we'd hear the same people bitching about how Bush failed to prevent terrorism.
. . .
Monday, March 13, 2006
Update: I'm not finding the "Over 100 deaths" number confirmed anywhere. The numbers I've seen all hover around 50. Does anyone have a source?
This might be fun to watch.
To the Daily Cal!
The reprinting of two of the cartoons in the Patriot comes on the heels of a Feb. 28 unveiling of the cartoons at UC Irvine and last Friday at UCLA by student group L.O.G.I.C. (Liberty, Objectivity, Greed, Individualism, and Capitalism).
I believe the Bureau of Stupid Names for Organizations, or BoSNO, has been mobilized.
But senior Khalid Mansour, president of the Cal Muslim Student Association, said he disagreed with the assertion that the published images are just a show of free speech.
Mansour said that the Patriot was promoting the "racist and Islamophobic agenda" of the original cartoons, and an analytic piece without the images would have enabled the publication to express its views in a fair way.
Let's think about that for a moment: It would've been more fair for them to make their views on the cartoons known without actually showing the cartoons. Fairness is inhibited by access to the material being discussed. It reminds me of the failure of the EU Constitution, where showing it to the voters was said to be unfair to the supporters.
"Yeah, they have the right to free speech, but what they did was very insensitive and very provoking," he said. "They're bringing something with a hateful agenda to the forefront."
A real reporter would've then asked "What is that agenda? What are they trying to accomplish." A real reporter, of course, would not be working for The Daily Cal.
. . .
Joel Weiner is... well, I guess his name says it all. When asked to "remove his blinders" he says he does so and comes up with the most ridiculously blinded commentary. He then proudly states that he achieves this "non-blinded" view by not reading different forms of news sources.
Lucas Lies also has a name that deserves comment.
On Friday, President Bush stated, "I'm concerned about a broader message this issue could send to our friends and allies around the world, particularly in the Middle East."
He was not referring to the Abu Ghraib scandal, he was not referring to the thousands of Iraqi civilians killed during our occupation and he was not referring to our nation's rendition policies. Instead, he was commenting on the failure of a lucrative business transaction.
Well, one thing we didn't see on those other issues is a bipartisan effort from Congress to support Abu Ghraib practices and support increased civillian casualties. But that would make a difference in a pro-Bush direction, so I don't think we should mention it.
. . .
But really, why did Slobodan Milosevic die? Let's check out the lead paragraph:
The mystery around Slobodan Milosevic's death deepened Monday when a toxicologist raised a third possibility besides poisoning or suicide: accidental death due to deliberate use of the wrong medication.
The following things strike me:
1) It is apparently clear that he did not die a natural death, as that is not one of the three possibilities.
2) "death due to deliberate use of the wrong medication" can be "accidental" and differs from the "poisoning" theory.
. . .
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Gay people are irrational
Sorry, I didn't really want to conclude that, but what else can you say to this?
Some gay rights dudes went to some university run by some religious dude (Jerry Falwell) to complain about... uh... I dunno. Being unpopular there?
Invoking the memory of the civil rights movement, Soulforce member Jacob Reitan said: "We want to come to the school today to say, 'learn from history.'"
"We have a right to be here, because this school teaches that being gay is being sick and sinful," said Reitan, co-director of Equality Ride. "We have a right to question and to show how we are children of God."
You see? School teaches that gayness is sick and sinful, ---(SuperMagicalGayLogic)--> We have a right to chill on someone else's property after we've been warned to stay out.
. . .
We're not the press. We're just the AP
Seriously? Force-feeding detainees is unethical, eh? And I assume we'd be just fine with them dying? (I would be, but the press won't miss an opportunity to bitch about the government.)
Asked if force-feeding was being carried out to prevent negative publicity likely to accompany any death of a hunger striker, Martin said the U.S. does not "let enemy combatants die on the battlefield."
Wait.. let me amend that a bit.
Asked if force-feeding was being carried out to prevent negative publicity that we would greatly encourage to accompany any death of a hunger striker, Martin said the U.S. does not "let enemy combatants die on the battlefield."
. . .
Yay some more
Leave it to San Francisco to bitch about architecture that is properly designed:
[The Bay Bridge's] railings will be 4 feet, 7 inches tall -- high enough to prevent people from taking accidental tumbles into the bay but surmountable for people intent on jumping to their death.
Is this a cause for celebration? No. Mel Blaustein is just going to bitch and bitch and bitch until everything is covered with safety cushions. Let 'em go, Mel. Just let them go.
. . .
Friday, March 10, 2006
BDP Letter Sprint! I haven't been reading much BDP detail of late, but I had some free time, so:
South Dakota has passed a law outlawing most abortions for any reason. The governor stated he is doing this for the purpose of forcing a challenge to Roe. So now we know why President Bush lost interest in his war in Afghanistan. He's planning to bring the Taliban to the United States.
I... see... where did Bush come in? This is probably the last thing that Bush wanted to happen, and he's been essentially backstabbed by South Dakota Republicans.
Marvin Chachere tries to make some metaphor or something about America and its freedoms, but its start:
One hundred and 17 years ago its architects designed a stout new hull, laminating civil liberty with due process to carry legislative, executive and judicial functions above a completely new creation called "balance of powers."
suggests what you'd expect from the rest of the letter. Counting centuries is apparently difficult, because they're so short.
Bruce Joffe shows how quickly people become racists when it gives them a chance to attack Bush:
And now, as Bush and Chertoff want to let the Dubai Ports World company, from United Arab Emirates, run the six largest ports on our East and Gulf coasts, is it incompetence or treason, to risk Al Qaeda sneaking a bomb into our cities?
Well, it's actually neither to risk something bad happening. All decisions carry risks. Any decision Bush made on this metter would risk Al Qaeda sneaking a bomb into our cities.
. . .
Bury your face in your hands
Ugh. Or, if you prefer the less informative version, Ugh. (I won't even link the AP story, which leaves out all the relevant details.)
The Sea Scouts have been denied a government-subsidized berth because they discriminate against gays. Oh, wait, check that, actually, no one accused them of discrimination. They're being denied the berth because they are affiliated with Boy Scouts of America. (this is the relevant detail the AP story leaves out) In order to get the berth, they would have to swear a loyalty oath to the City of Berkeley that they will never discriminate. The Courts have said that this is okay.
Imagine, for a moment, a Muslim non-porift organization was held to the same standard, and in order to get subsidized stuff they would have to swear that they will not discriminate against gays like many Muslim organizations and governments do. Of course, in that case, Berkeley would never have raised the issue, because it doesn't offer them a chance to nail Christians, as folks like Kriss Worthington freely admitted was their motivation. Here's how Worthington responded:
"I hadn't sought a fight with the Boy Scouts," he said. "It would have been so much healthier if they had spent their money on the kids instead of fighting for the right to discriminate."
Wow. If only Berkeley hadn't acted as it did, not only would the Sea Scouts have been able to spend that money on the kids, they would've had more money to spend on the kids because of the subsidized berth. But Kriss Worthington being full of crap is nothing new.
City Attorney Manuela Albuquerque is also full of shit, as even the Daily Planet will point out.
"The city is not trying to regulate private clubs," she said. "It is only saying that they don't get to discriminate on the taxpayer's dime."
One of the ironies of the case was that there were no allegations that the Sea Scouts had actually discriminated against any gays or atheists.
Update: Here's what the Chron says:
The message the state Supreme Court sent Thursday to a Boy Scouts affiliate seeking a rent break from Berkeley was the same message the nation's highest court delivered earlier this week to law schools challenging military recruiters: If you accept the government's money, you live by the government's rules.
The analogy is severely flawed, of course, because the government rules in the Supreme Court case involved actions, the government rules in this case involve loyalty oaths, but no actual action.
. . .
No, not detail!
"Wait, stop following the rules, we have an emergency on our hands!" seems to be the message. One wonders what the point of rules would be, if they don't apply anytime a problem comes up.
Justice Jackson probably has the appropriate thing to say on this topic:
"[The forefathers] knew what emergencies were, knew the pressures they engender for authoritative action, knew, too, how they afford a ready pretext for usurpation. We may also suspect that they suspected that emergency powers would tend to kindle emergencies."
. . .
You lose again
On military recruiters winning something.
But Chief Justice John Roberts opined that if universities don't want to follow the policy, they're "free to decline the federal funds." If only it were so simple. While it would be ideal if universities could forgo federal funding in protest, the reality remains that schools like UC Berkeley need all the money they can get.
Yeah, you see, this is what we call a "consequence." It's not much of a belief if you'll only uphold that belief to the point where you start to suffer consequences. It actually is so simple. It's just not simple in the way that universities want: All the money but no obligations.
. . .
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Did you know?
Phil Angelides rapes babies while using a chainsaw to dismember children in front of their parents. The words of the previous sentence do not mean what they usually mean in English, but Angelides doesn't seem to mind:
"If the choice is to slice all the programs back that help students go to college or ask millionaires to donate a little more, I'm going to do the asking," Angelides said.
It's not "asking for donations" when you have the authority of law and the threat of punishment behind you.
. . .
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Fundamental Problem Discovered
Not only did we discover the problem with society today, we also can find the fundamental problem with state management of the unviersity.
The fundamental problem is, state officials don't seem to realize how much work goes into operating a three-tier higher education system. Take just the smallest branch: The UC Office of the President alone has 1,800 employees that oversee the general operations of the 10-campus UC. If it takes that many people to oversee just one tier in the system, there's no way the state would be able to effectively coordinate all three. One more legislative ladle in the cooking pot doesn't make much of a recipe for educational success.
Actually, coordination of large, seperate branches is what government does. The fact that the branches are large is not an argument against coordination.
. . .
Solution to society found!
Can't get enough dumb? Dennis Brozowski helps us out.
I have no problems with learning, remembering, and celebrating the achievements of "Black Americans" but in that label lies the problem with society.
The problem with society has been found!!! Rejoice, people everywhere!
Before you disregard my statement, hear me out.
When you're worried about being interrupted by angry disagreement while writing in print, I think the strength of your commentary can be pretty accurately dismissed.
. . .
No, actually I wasn't thinking that
I normally steer clear of commenting on SoT, mostly because every SoT column is a rerun of a SoT column that ran the year before... and the year before that... etc. Today I'll point this out:
Whatever. Slicing, dicing and stretching the dong because it doesn't extend further into the big bad world is just as absurd as labiaplasty. I said it before, and I will say it again: Male or female, pussy or penis, you are entitled to have someone appreciate your family jewels just the way they are.
Oh, entitled, are we? Can we have sex with this entitlement? Or do we have to deal in the real world, where "being entitled to something" means nothing?
. . .
Rules are complicated. Especially when you're the one who writes them.
Let me point out that I'll be using a Daily Cal article to respond. Considering the reporting of The Daily Cal to be accurate is never a safe bet. Also note that this was reported last Thursday by the Patriot folks, and The Daily Cal didn't think it was worth mentioning in their original story last Friday.
ASUC Executive Vice President Anil Daryani challenged the senate's decision to sidestep the ASUC by-laws - which call for a two-thirds vote to change the election date - , and pass the bill with a majority vote.
"While I do not disagree that election dates need to be moved, I believe that such actions should be done in a procedurally proper matter," Daryani said in a statement.
ASUC senators, however, said the ASUC constitution, which they said supercedes the by-laws, allows the senate to move the elections with a majority vote.
"In this kind of situation where there is certain ambiguity, the right of interpretation should be given to the senators, who have studied the by-laws and are working with the association's best interests at heart," said SQUELCH! Senator Ben Narodick, the author of the bill.
Well, the idea that the senators are familiar with the by-laws is a tough one for me to swallow. The implicit dig about Daryani's interests is cold. And I generally have a tough time leaving decisions about such things to the subjective opinion of the Senate, due to the way the Senate has used "discretion" in the past. *cough* Jessica Underhalter *cough*
"There is something inherently wrong with 50 percent of the senate setting election dates for 100 percent of the campus," Daryani said.
Uh... why? Is it somehow inherently rightified when you have 70 percent?
. . .
Is that another boomerang I smell?
Quasi-pwn3d! Big Mo's complaint about having to pay money for stuff moves on up to whatever court comes after "Superior." I guess it would be "Even More Superior Court," or "Superiorer Court."
Former Boalt Hall student Mo Kashmiri, the lead plaintiff in the case, said he could not afford the fees increases at the law school-from around $10,000 in 2000 to more than $22,000 in 2004-forcing him to take a break from his education.
"(The court's decision) shows that UC is not above the law and is just ridiculously mismanaged that they're even willing to break the law to balance the budget on the backs of the students," he said. "Now I'm $130,000 in debt and until (the university reimburses the students), I'll continue to struggle."
How much of that $130,000 is due to the increase in fees? A quick calculation or two tells us "less than half," which makes one wonder how valid it is for him to quote the number.
Although the university's appeal will extend the case's conclusion for a few years, the financial effects on UC have been felt with a temporarily increase professional student fees by $1,050 until 2007 to cover the cost of the lawsuit, said Anu Joshi, president of the University of California Students Association.
I'm still laughing about this one. I wonder if we'll have a repeat.
. . .
Saturday, March 04, 2006
I just listened to Alex Marlow's podcast on Patriot Radio. Here's my review:
Now, it's a first show, so I guess you might expect a "meh" review. My criticisms are as follows:
1) Shallow: The complaints were kind of shallow. Like "Oh, look, UC folks donate a lot more to Democrats than Republicans" or "There are liberals on campus!!!" What I wanted to hear was some deeper complaining which really got at the question of "why should we care?" or "what's the harm?"
2) Um: A lot of 'Um.'
3) Imprecise speaking: Some statistics were rather oddly quoted because Alex spoke a lot like most of us do: Not with great precision. For instance, "What proportion of taxes does the top 1% of the population pay" could easily mean "what percentage of their income do they pay in taxes" rather than "what portion of the total tax revenue of the country comes from the top 1%." The statement that "UC Berkeley was the second-largest donator to John Kerry" bordered on libellous, as it didn't make clear that we were talking about the people affiliated with the institution.
4) Localized outrage: A lot of the outrage Alex had towards certain things seemed misplaced and unexplained. When explaining outrage to an audience, you can't simply assume that your audience is outraged by the same things as you are (Well, you can if you're into choir-preaching), and I felt that Alex did a poor job of making his outrage accessible to those who didn't already feel as he did.
5) Bland: Honestly, I was kind of bored by it. In fairness, this may be because I'd heard all of it before from his blog, or the Patriot's blog.
. . .
Let's extend the highly successful public education system to pre-school! Genius!
Money: Funding would come from a new 1.7 percent tax on the wealthiest Californians -- couples with annual incomes of more than $800,000 or individuals who make more than $400,000.
That's at least $6800 each, I think. Whatever. Rich people only pay more in taxes, they don't vote more, so we can always feel comfortable putting it on them to fund everything. The measures will pass in any case.
But wait! Democratic Super-senator Don Perata doesn't like it. Why?
Meanwhile, state Senate Pro Tem President Don Perata, a Democrat, withdrew his support for the measure Tuesday because, he said, it would direct too many resources to families who already can afford preschool.
Oh no! It might help people who are well-off! Stop it at once! God forbid the people who we are taxing at least $6800 actually get some benefit from that!
. . .
Compare! Contrast! Trampare!
Remember this guy? Duke Cunningham has an awesome name for his character. Duke is not a friendly name for politicians.
Anyway, the story appears on page A-3, with a "Hey, look at this" box referring to it on the front page of The Chron. In the "Hey, look at this" box, it refers to him as a Republican. In the little profile picture next to the story, the caption mentions that he is a Republican. The story mentions that he is a Republican in the third paragraph.
On the other hand, look at this guy. Some Illinois governor knows the appropriate person to appoint to a hate crimes commission is someone from the Nation of Islam. The dude's name is Rod Blagojevich. It's no Duke, that's for sure.
So, where does it mention that this governor is a Democrat? Not in the picture caption. Not in the first ten paragraphs. No, you have to run all the way down to paragraph number eleven to find out that the dude is a Democrat.
Not that I'm saying anything about that. Ahem.
. . .
Oh, no! Let's all be outraged by the death of a dumb dog! Meanwhile, let's just gloss over the constant murders of human beings that go on. They probably deserved it. But not Princess!!!
. . .
Friday, March 03, 2006
Snark doesn't fit
Sorry, snark doesn't work for a newspaper editorial. It just makes the newspaper look unprofessional and, well, high schoolish. Interesting, considering the topic of the editorial.
Based on the Supreme Court's 1988 Hazelwood decision, high schools are allowed to censor their student publications. The attorney general argued the Hazelwood restrictions should extend to college students. Never mind that these college students were adults participating in activities at a public institution and were due all the rights that other adult citizens possess.
Those exact things could be said for high schoolers, but that didn't work in Hazelwood, so indeed, the court said "nevermind that." Is the Illinois paper in question independent from the university? The answer appears to be no. Sorry, dudes, you're not acting like adults when you piss off your funding source and then throw a fit when your funding source strikes back. (Whether it's legal is a different question from whether it's adultlike, and it's one I don't care to address, so don't go pointing to Southworth)
Anyway, The Daily Cal isn't exactly on the leading edge of provocative journalism, so I don't think it has anything to worry about.
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The message here seems to be that if you want frat guys to act like human beings rather than total fucking assholes, you have to kill one of them.
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Eat the sore cost of desperation.
Leslieann Cachola shoves a hot capitalistic poker in the eye of the ASUC senate for their pathetic failure to set up an election by pulling down a $3500 stipend.
"I know it's a lot, but you have to consider that it is an emergency situation," Cachola told the senate. "You have to think of it as a long-term investment."
...in my future, bitches!
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A lot of hyperventilating here and here about Bush's comment: "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees." Now we have proof that he was wrong, because someone at the briefing told him that they were concerned that the levees would be "topped." See here for the obvious criticism. I'll summarize it, with today's "Beetle English Lesson."
Levee- A fancy word for big wall by a body of water.
Breach- A fancy word for hole.
Top- A not-particularly fancy word for "go over."
Essentially, someone warned Bush that there is a concern that the water would rise so high and go over the wall. Bush said that nobody anticipated that the wall would have a big fucking hole in it. If this is a contradiction, what's next?
Bush: "I don't think anyone anticipated some fuckers would fly planes into the WTC."
Video three days earlier
Some Advisor: "There's a possibility that a plane may fly over the WTC."
Newspapers: OMG!!!! BUSH KNEW!!!
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Thursday, March 02, 2006
What a coincidence. I made fun of the idiocy of Save Science With Petitions. I made fun of the idiocy of Can't Sleep Because of Naked People while drawing a connection to when I made fun of My Studies Are Disrupted Because I Can't Sleep While Professor Yoo Still Has His Job.
Interestingly, one of the Save Science With Petitions guys is the same guy (or at least has the same name) as My Studies Are Disrupted Because I Can't Sleep While Professor Yoo Still Has His Job guy. For Jason Curtis to criticize someone for doing work towards a goal he doesn't approve of and then complain that the Bush administration criticizes some people for doing work towards goals it doesn't approve of would be pretty interesting.
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The group Students Organizing for Justice in the Americas held its first nude protest of the year, attracting a large audience of students, community members and local media observers.
Emphasis mine. What I would've liked to see is for it to have been raining during the protest. Then we'd have a chance to see whether these people who are trying to rescue people from employment are willing to experience mild discomfort in their efforts.
"(UC Berkeley) has the position to take a stand to change this atrocity," said senior Nina Rizzo, one of the protest organizers. "They need to take this issue more seriously and stop praising themselves for what they have done and realize they can take further action to stop this."
More unintentional irony. I think those opposed to poor people having jobs should take the issue more seriously and stop praising themselves for what they have done, too.
"I can't sleep for a week," said freshman Ricky Vides, who stopped to watch the protest on his way to class. "It's disturbing, but this will be something that I'll never forget for the rest of my life."
You might want to get that checked out. What is it with this campus and insomnia?
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Science is under attack! How absurd. Science can easily invent death rays and laser cannons to fight off the attackers. So what does it do? It writes petitions. Great.
"The scientific method is one of the greatest thought processes for mankind," said senior Aidin Fathalizadeh, who attended the first meeting of the Berkeley chapter. "But in this day and age you have these big tendencies for dogmatic thinking."
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Here's some stuff about immigrants. Here are some gratuitous comments about hostility towards illegal immigration, which probably don't apply to these legal immigrants.
"It seems like Berkeley has immigrants from all over the world, that's why I love it," said [Abdelhak Akjeje], who obtained permanent residency through his American wife Jessica. "People are very mixed and open. People are interested in what makes you unique."
Keep in mind that "coming from some country" does not make one unique. It's a characteristic that is shared by the population of an entire country.
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Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Police investigators looking into the shooting death of a ninja-style assailant at a semirural home in Healdsburg say they have not yet been able to identify the masked intruder or to establish a motive for his actions.
Try taking off the mask.
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Someone from the Daily Cal tries to talk about something I'm familiar with. This is going to be a trainwreck.
Such a distribution is a result of the strategic nature of terrorists, who seek to attack the most vulnerable site in order to do the most damage, [profdude Robert Powell said. Thus, to "minmax"-minimize the maximum payoff of an attacker-proves to be the best strategy, he said.
The result contradicts with the way game theorists should model terrorism, said Powell. One of game theory's central concepts is the zero-sum game, in which one side's loss is the other's gain.
Wow. Just wow. Normally, I'd immediately blame writer Michael Kay and his editors, but this is coming from a poliski professor, so maybe not.
Anyway, if you're wondering why I'm "Wow"ing, it's this: Zero-sum games are very emphatically not central to game theory. Zero-sum games, in fact, are far more applicable to the "minmax" model. You use game theory when you want to see how people should cooperate and what kind of contracts and auctions they should design and the like. Which is exactly the opposite of "zero-sum."
Someone needs to commit ritual suicide over this.
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If you picked up a newspaper today you might have noticed Coca-Cola's "We're not evil. Really!" ad.
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Murder Death Kill!
Uh oh! Murders! Young people! Don't worry, folks. Mayor Bates is on the job. His investigative acumen is not to be discounted.
At last week's city council meeting, Mayor Tom Bates said it is the city's responsibility to determine the cause of these incidents.
"What's apparent to me is these petty disputes turn fatal," Bates said. "It seems like we need to examine what's going on."
Studies! More importantly, funded studies! Commission on "What's going on when petty disputes turn fatal" in the works!
Councilmember Darryl Moore said violent societal trends play a role in the recent incidents involving local youth.
"When I was growing up, people had fistfights," he said in an interview yesterday. "Today, they pull out knives and guns and fatally harm each other."
I'll tell you what happened. We raised a generation of pussies who are too afraid to get into a fight if they're going to get bruised up. This is what happens when you teach pacifism in schools. People get murdered. I'm not even joking.
(I was playing around with Blogger's spell checker. Apparently, "councilmember" is not a word, and must be "councilwoman" or some such. The PC folks haven't caught up here. Also, "fistfights" is not a word, and should be replaced with "postfix.")
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Jonathan Middlebrook wins at life.
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