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Nap Time!!!

Saturday, June 30, 2007
Guns are bad

If you recall, some dude shot up his family and himself a week or so ago. Obviously, the problem was the gun store he bought the gun at, because no one who was willing to wait the week to get his gun would have been willing to drive a little bit further to some other gun store, and lives would've been saved, if only that gun store wasn't there.

No, I'm not going to talk about this completely sensible and realistic explanation. Instead, I'm going to point to a Dorothy Snodgrass quote:
And I must not overlook Deborah Cloudwalker's letter espousing her novel theory that carrying guns in self-defense is the only thing that can "equalize a small, weak woman against a large strong man." She forgot to add the words "carrying a gun." I would remind Deborah that not all small, weak women consider guns an appropriate means of defense—only women with small, weak minds!
Don't leave us hanging! What do small, weak women who have big, strong minds consider an appropriate means of defense? Psychic blasts?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/30/2007 04:31:00 PM #
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Friday, June 29, 2007
No, not that Chief Justice

So, as you've probably heard, the U.S. Supreme Court issued yet another completely useless decision on school integration plans. Four justices said they aren't constitutional, four said they are, and one said "Well, this one isn't, but there's a line where they are constitutional, but I won't really say where that line is, so I guess school boards will just have to keep guessing." Thanks! That's helpful. It's good to have a Supreme Court which interprets the law for us.

What does the Daily Planet have to say about it, in relation to BUSD? Well, first they're going to talk about that suit by the Pacific Legal Foundation a few time units ago, insisting that the school district absolutely won the suit without mentioning that one of its programs was, indeed, potentially unconstitutional and the claim against it was allowed to go to trial. (information here if you're interested)

We also have this gem:
"I don't think the decision will jeopardize what Berkeley Unified has tried to do so far," said Goodwin Liu, Professor at UC Berkeley's School of Law (Boalt Hall).

"The controlling opinion by Chief Justice John G. Roberts leaves room for the type of approach Berkeley Unified is trying. It leaves open several avenues for race-conscious measures to achieve integration, including strategic-attendance zoning as well as magnet schools and special programs. The upshot is that the court has sent school districts literally back to the drawing board to devise creative assignment plans to integrate our public schools."

Liu added that it was remarkable that the Chief Justice of the United States cited the historic decision in Brown vs. Board of Education—which prohibits segregation in public schools—to defeat, not defend, school integration.
The controlling opinion by Chief Justice John G. Roberts apparently both allows some and prohibits all integration plans. It almost seems like an editor should've caught a bit of tension there. These folks seem to think that the controlling opinion came from Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, as does their quote of the same press release. If only the Planet had kept up the error and quoted the whole next paragraph:
"It is significant that a majority of the Court—Chief Justice Roberts and the four dissenting Justices—rejected Chief Justice Roberts's attempt to read Brown v. Board of Education as a categorical rule of colorblindness. . . . It is remarkable that the Chief Justice of the United States would cite Brown to defeat not defend school integration, and five Justices, including the Chief Justice, rejected this view as deeply ahistorical."
But... but... I thought we need newspapers to gather news! They're so much better at it than mere blogs!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/29/2007 03:30:00 PM #
Comments (5)
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Thursday, June 28, 2007
You're leaking

John Russo criticizes a George F. Will column. The factual claims below all come from Russo's column and I haven't even read the Will column, in order to make a point.
The Good News Employees Association was formed in response to an openly gay councilmember's e-mail inviting both gay and straight employees to support a National Coming Out day. Two Oakland city employees formed the association as "a forum for people of faith to express their views ... with respect for the Natural Family, Marriage and Family Values" and generated a flyer titled: "Preserve Our Workplace Integrity".
So, what's the problem? Haha. Just kidding. Okay, so the problem is obvious.
The employees who drafted the flyer actually declared under oath that they wanted to inject their intolerant worldview into the workplace.
OHMYGOD!!!! The issue? Certainly it's not the worldview-injection, since the councildude was doing that, too. I guess it's the "intolerant" part that's the issue. What makes it intolerant? I guess since doesn't tolerate open homosexuality or gay marriage or something. But then, neither did the councildude's piece tolerate the view that both of those things are wrong. So I guess the issue is that it was intolerant towards the wrong thing.
Supervisors reviewed the flyer and explained to the plaintiffs why the flyer had been removed. Will never tells his readers that the plaintiffs were invited to submit a new flyer without the discriminatory language.
Because it doesn't matter? If the issue here is "political correctness," the fact that the supervisors told them they could write a new, "political correct" flyer doesn't really detract from the point.
Ultimately, the association wanted to use city time and resources to validate their personal neurosis -- which is that heterosexual marriage can only be validated by invalidating same-sex marriage.
Aha! See, the same argument can't be made about the councildude using city time and resources to validate National Coming Out day because it's not a "neurosis." This is why it's okay to restrict the speech of those who disagree with us: They're crazy. They have to be. What other possible reason could they have for not agreeing with us? Therefore, their opinion isn't really an opinion, and there's no need to treat it like one.
Furthermore, the seemingly harmless flyer was not an isolated incident but part of a deliberate pattern of harassment.
Ah, finally, we get to a legitimate argument. This kind of argument is fine with me, but it doesn't change the stuff that's already been said, which stands even without the harassment.
But you gotta love George Will and his ilk. With neither a hint of shame nor a shadow of a blush, those who denounce the use of "specious" lawsuits to dictate morality and who shed crocodile tears over the ways trial lawyers have "interfered" with the prerogatives of workplace management, will gladly race to the courthouse when it suits their dogmatic purposes.
... Uh... yeah. I think one can hold the position that some types of lawsuits are specious while others are not without too much dissonance. Free speech is not "morality" that is to be "dictated" by the courts. It's a "right" that is to be "protected" by the courts. That's why we have courts. And since these are government employees, there is no issue with government "interference."

Anyway, Russo's piece is an excellent insight into the way attempts to limit speech as "harmful" gives way entirely into viewpoint censorship, which is exactly the kind of speech limitation the First Amendment is concerned with. The same can be said about those who argue it's okay for folks to shout down and attack speakers at college campuses because they have "dangerous" opinions. The philosophy that those with power can and should limit speech they find bad is an acceptable philosophy, I suppose, but the United States has a tradition which rejects that philosophy, and with good reason (because you can't fully trust "those with power").

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/28/2007 11:57:00 AM #
Comments (1)
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Monday, June 25, 2007
Confidence shattered

The Daily Cal sort of agrees with me, which immediately makes me question my position. Unless they just took my position because they know I'm awesome and always have the right position. That would be fine.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/25/2007 03:49:00 PM #
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Friday, June 22, 2007
Heh

For those of you vaguely following San Francisco politics, "progressive" Chris Daly recently floated baseless (snort!) rumors that Mayor Gavin Newsom does cocaine, and thought it was wrong of him to not deny it aggressively enough or something. This is something Daly considers central to the budgeting process. Whatever, I don't care. But check out Deborah Glenn-Rogers's response to a critical editorial in the Chron:
The Chronicle regularly bemoans Daly's lack of "civility" (i.e., not enough hypocrisy)...
Let me make sure I understand the "progressive" position here: Not bringing up baseless rumors of your opponents' drug use is hypocritical. Fascinating.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/22/2007 02:04:00 PM #
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Haha!

Next on the comedy list: Student Judicial Affairs has sent a survey to students blessed by its touch:
Dear (namegoeshere),

As the facilitators of the Student Conduct process at Cal, we are conducting an online assessment survey to determine the effectiveness of our process and to request your comments and ideas about its effectiveness for you.()

(login information)

It is very important that you complete this assessment. We want to hear what you have to say, and then act on your behalf to improve our work. By completing the survey, you will make your experiences count.

Participating in the survey is completely voluntary, and will not affect your grades, registration or enrollment in any way. The survey takes approximately 5-10 minutes to complete. If you have any questions about the project, just reply to this email. Thanks for your input!

Neal Rajmaira

PLEASE NOTE: This message is not spam; it is an official UC survey.
So, does the survey treat students with respect and allow their voices to be heard, or does it just try to reinforce its importance and blame the student? Let's take a look:

Part 1: The Student Conduct Process

1. Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statements:

Regardless of the outcome, based upon my experience in the UC Berkeley student disciplinary process, the process was fair.

PRIOR to my experience with Student Judicial Affairs, I was familiar with the campus rules, policies, and procedures that govern student behavior.

AFTER my experience with Student Judicial Affairs, I have a better understanding of the campus rules, policies, and procedures that govern student behavior.

I now feel better equipped to navigate bureaucracies and work with administrative processes at the University and elsewhere.
I especially like that last one: "Sure, we know our bureaucracy is ridiculous, but this'll give you training to deal with other folks' ridiculous bureaucracies."
2. Please detail an example or experience that expands on your answer to the LAST item above. What about your experience with Student Judicial Affairs leads you to your answer?

3. How would you describe the way that your Code of Student Conduct violation impacted the campus community and its expectations for student behavior?

4. I performed public service as part of the resolution of my case. Yes/No

5. I met with a staff member of the Cal Corps Public Service Center to discuss public service options as part of the resolution of my case. Yes/No
Now it's time for the really fun part that is vital to the workings of SJA:
Part 2: General Self-Assessment

6. Please indicate your agreement or disagreement with the following items by choosing the position that most closely represents your opinion about that statement.

Being seen as a person of integrity is important to me.

I am able to articulate my priorities.

I believe I have a civic responsibility to the greater public.

I am open to others' ideas.

I stick with others through the difficult times.

I am genuine.

I am comfortable expressing myself.

I know where to find opportunities that allow me to contribute to my communities.

Creativity can come from conflict.
"Really. We helped you! Seriously!"
Greater understanding can come out of disagreement.

I am focused on my responsibilities.

I am willing to act for the rights of others.

I have the power to make a difference in my community.

Self-reflection is easy for me

It is important to me to act on my beliefs.

I participate in activities that contribute to the common good.

My actions are consistent with my values.

I work with others to make my communities better places.

The things about which I feel passionate have priority in my life.

I know myself pretty well.

I hold myself accountable for responsibilities I agree to.

I can be counted on to do my part.

I devote time and energy to things that are important to me.

I value differences in others.

Hearing differences in opinions enriches my thinking.

I share my ideas with others.

7. Any additional comments?

8. If you would be interested in participating in a FOCUS GROUP to help the Office of Student Life evaluate and develop leadership development programs for Cal students, please enter your EMAIL ADDRESS BELOW, and we will be in touch in the coming semester. Thanks!

THANK YOU for completing the Student Conduct Process assessment survey - we sincerely appreciate your time and your input!

- The Student Judicial Affairs Staff
I can see it now: "After careful review, we've discovered that many of the students we deal with are genuine."

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/22/2007 01:33:00 PM #
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Accounting!

There's nothing more exciting than accounting. Van Nguyen has issued an executive order suspending one of our many financial responsibility by-laws (Title III, Article VIII for the curious) in order to pay for spending done by the executives last year for their stupid unconstitutional projects:
In the order, Nguyen states that because last year's executives were not aware of the bylaw requiring that 75 percent of the money in the holding fund go into other funds, they thought they could allocate the full $95,827 to Spring Concert and other programs, such as the 2007 Dance Marathon and the From All Perspectives culture show.
At this point, I guess this is the only choice, since they already have the bills and have to pay them off. (By the way, does anyone know when this money was allocated? The executives wouldn't have the ability to just spend it without Senate approval)

Those other funds are about long-term issues for the ASUC, including the "Long Term Investment Fund" and the "Capital Improvements Fund." What this means, then, is that our beloved Student Action senators illegally spent the money that was supposed to be used to secure the future of the ASUC on silly projects in order to make themselves look good and add things to their "DONE" fliers.

"Sacrificing the ASUC's future for immediate party popularity: DONE!"

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/22/2007 01:14:00 PM #
Comments (2)
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Thursday, June 21, 2007
Hmm...

What do you do when someone points out an error? You clarify yourself without actually checking to see if you made an error. Albert Wu writes:
Thanks for pointing out the error, but I believe it was more because I worded it incorrectly. It was meant to convey that you need a Senator to sponsor you to even become a student group in the first place.

Also, I hope to dispel some of your conceptions about Senators/Student Action, but I understand why you might be skeptical about that as I am as well. Anyways, I hope to meet you someday, but if not, happy blogging.
So, this doesn't do much to dispel one conception about Senators, which is that they don't know their own rules and have no interest in finding out what they are.

Sponsorship is generally done through a bill, and bills can be sponsored by any elected official, some other folks on committees, and even through a petition. You don't need to get a Senator to sponsor it. But instead of checking on this, Wu went ahead and "clarified." Note, of course, that the "clarification" (which seems to reinforce that the original statement was wrong) includes the incorrect suggestion that you need ASUC approval to be a student group, but I guess we can write that one off as carelessness.

(Just for fun, fill in the blanks for the deleted posts in the "discussion" section in the ASUC Senate Facebook Forum. They may have just been trivial mistakes, but now that they've been deleted, it's more fun to use our imagination. I think they were winning Powerball numbers for next week, but were deleted because California isn't part of Powerball.)

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/21/2007 01:12:00 AM #
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Monday, June 18, 2007
Kill them all!

I agree with Yaman that Chancellor Bob 2.0 saying "fuck you" to Israel university boycotters from Britland isn't courageous," but the reason is because it's so obvious. Any other decision would indeed be "more difficult" because it would be wrong, and clearly so.

The merits of the complaints I won't deal with (though the academic work I've read from Israel doesn't seem to be all that supportive of the occupation. It has very little to do with politics in general, which is why I think these broad boycotts sort of miss the point), but academic freedom requires that the university not prohibit its faculty from working with other academics on the basis of mere location.

That said, if the the Daily Cal is correct, then the counter-boycotters are missing their own point:
Both Birgeneau and Bollinger's statements claim that if any boycott is put into effect, their respective institutions will stand in solidarity with the Israeli universities, in effect extending any boycott of the Israeli schools to UC Berkeley and Columbia.
For exactly the same reason, the university administration can't make such a policy. (I suppose the UK universities could, but that would be up to them.) I stress, though, that this is reported in the Daily Cal, and is not a direct quote, so take it for its worth.

Speaking of British academics on Israel, check this out.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/18/2007 03:57:00 PM #
Comments (2)
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Whoops

Well, that was a mistake. Now I've got a link in Althouse's "list of links to this page."

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/18/2007 11:33:00 AM #
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Houch

Our own Yaman Salahi has become dubiously famous for losing in small claims court to Lee Kaplan, with references from Ann Althouse, Glenn Reynolds, and Slashdot. Kaplan has a pretty solid reputation as an asshole.

Salahi has his basic complaints here, and it seems that the case being held in small claims court deprived him of many of the protections he would have received otherwise. We should note this as a lesson and try to keep these cases out of small claims court. We should also note that when being sued by many people, they know their way around the legal system well and we should definitely go find ourselves lawyers as early as possible, and try to use SLAPP law to cover the costs.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/18/2007 10:51:00 AM #
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Friday, June 15, 2007
Geez, way to drop the ball

It took them long enough. This is why Asians are not a powerful special interest minority: It took them weeks to cry racism.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/15/2007 11:25:00 PM #
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Yet more wah

Berkeley High Fails! They don't fail the tests, necessarily. They fail at getting their students to take them.
"I would say that the participation rate in the STAR testing was a little under 80 percent," said [Vice Principal Pasquale Scuderi].

Principal Jim Slemp reported that the state of California had previously allowed the adequate participation rate to be measured as 95 percent on the California High School Exit Exam and 85 percent on the STAR tests. However, that policy has changed.
It doesn't look like it would have mattered if the policy was not changed, though, since 80 is less than 85.
"It doesn't look like they are going to allow us to do that this way again," said Slemp. "Our students don't just take a test because somebody says it’s a good idea. They make their own intelligent decisions and I don't think that these tests are an accurate reflection of our school."
Yeah, I mean, come on. Kids doing something they don't want to do in school? Who ever heard of such a thing?
"I really don't like taking the standardized tests," said Delia Keller. "They don't measure how smart you are and they’re really boring to sit through."
Boredom! Run for your lives! There shall be no boredom in school! What a bunch of spoiled brats. School isn't supposed to be fun.
Slemp said, "We are one of the best high schools in the country. It just shows the ridiculousness of this test. Under this standard, we are being categorized as underperforming and that’s just not true."

Scuderi concurred, "The idea of a common benchmark to measure student performance is a good impulse, but it needs considerable revision."
Translation: The test should be designed in a way that'll make us look better.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/15/2007 10:23:00 AM #
Comments (3)
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Thursday, June 14, 2007
Wu!

Albert Wu has been saying things over at the ASUC Senate Facebook Forum. Wu is part of Student Action, so it would be a travesty if there wasn't something false, which is avoided:
To receive funds as an ASUC student group, you will need a Senator to write a bill of sponsorship.
This is, of course, false, but no one expects Senators to know their own rules. The important thing is that Senators feel important, so obviously you need them to do everything for you.

By the way, the impression consistently given off by much of the Senate is that the position of "Senator" is a prize they win in the election, and they should now get benefits. Whether its giving themselves awards, insisting that people shop at the Cal bookstore for the sake of funding student activities at the same time they brag about their Senator discount (which defeats that purpose), buying themselves graduation stoles, or yelling "Decorum!", they seem to think they should be treated with respect and that people should make them feel important. That shouldn't be what they won, though. What they should've won was the obligation to represent students, and I sort of hope that this year's Senate prioritizes that over their egos. (This is one of many reasons I wanted to eliminate decorum rules for the Senate as EVP)

In any case, I have a pair of plans in the works along this line of thinking.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/14/2007 09:34:00 PM #
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Exil Ent

I'm bored, so let's talk about the initiative process. In Massachusetts, in order for a citizen initiative to make the ballot, it also needs the support of a quarter of the legislature for two sessions (as opposed to California, where a bunch of signatures is sufficient). Blah blah gay marriage blah. What do you think about this process?

The two-session requirement seems a bit odd to me. While there are issues which should require the approval of more than one session to give voters a chance to smash legislators, initiatives don't seem to be one of them. After all, it's not like voters need a chance to stop the legislators through the reelection process for an initiative when they can just vote against the initiative directly. I'm not sure about the actual rationale for that policy, and I'm not sure where I could go to find it, so I'll just leave it alone for now.

More interesting is the idea of requiring some legislative approval. This can help prevent, say, wealthy folks bypassing the legislature completely through sheer resources, putting measures on the ballot that don't really have the popular support to justify their presence and cost to the voters.

On the other hand, though, these are constitutional amendments, which means they may include issues about how the legislature itself is built. While for an issue like gay marriage, this isn't a big deal, there are many things which probably need to be kept completely separate from the legislature. Issues like term limits, or redistricting, or other policies that directly limit the power of the legislature shouldn't require any amount of legislative approval. On gay marriage, you can just vote out the gay marriage supporters and vote in opponents and then go from there, but for legislative power, even if you vote out the folks who don't want to give it up for "reformers," those reformers will be legislators holding that power by the time the issue comes to them.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/14/2007 01:53:00 PM #
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Run!

The mountain lions are going to overrun us again!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/14/2007 12:36:00 PM #
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That seems correct

According to the Daily Cal, Daniel Sandoval is a student at Berkeley High School. However, other news sources dispute this. For instance, the Daily Cal reports that Daniel Sandoval is a former Berkeley High student. Who's right? I'm going to side with the Daily Cal on this one.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/14/2007 12:33:00 PM #
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Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Thing of Note

Today's thing of note: The Daily Squelch! If you can't figure out what it is, you're too stupid to appreciate it, probably.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/13/2007 08:49:00 AM #
Comments (1)
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Tuesday, June 12, 2007
That is sooooo gay

I think some of the commentary on the so-called gay bomb has been a bit unfair, if we ignore what the activist whiner says it was supposed to do. The punchline here was:
As part of a military effort to develop non-lethal weapons, the proposal suggested, "One distasteful but completely non-lethal example would be strong aphrodisiacs, especially if the chemical also caused homosexual behavior."
The activist whiner, Edward Hammond, insists that the goal was to "cause enemy soldiers to become gay," and then a bunch of other activist whiners insist that this implies that gay people cannot keep their hands off each other or some such.

The actual document is not noted anywhere, as far as I can tell, which is important because we're expected to take the word of an activist whiner.

If the quoted section is correct and an accurate summary, then the bomb wouldn't have "made people gay." It would've given them irresistible homosexual urges through some kind of chemical stimulant. This would probably mean it would be temporary, and wouldn't "turn anyone gay." The homosexuality is, of course, a benefit when fighting primarily male forces, but I don't see anything suggesting the point was that the gayness itself was what would cause the inability to focus on fighting.

And while Hammond insists that it was brought up numerous times, it seems to be merely pointed to as a conceptual example. There's nothing suggesting that the idea was actually considered more than once.

It's not that this is important, and I'd hate to take away everyone's fun (and these things may very well be in the record, but the case certainly wasn't made). Still, the approach of taking a strange idea, twisting it into something it's not, and then provoking a PC backlash to your own idiotic idea that's directed at the original idea bothers me on many levels, especially when it comes to saving lives. The concept of using chemicals to manipulate sexual behavior is not completely absurd, and there's an entire industry built around it.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/12/2007 10:29:00 PM #
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Stop waiting!

Protest! World Can't Wait, which will be proved right within a few years, wants Berkeley High School folks to protest the new opt-out policy for military recruitment information.
Berkeley High was the last school in the country to adopt the "opt-in" policy under threat of losing $10 million in federal funding, as part of the No Child Left Behind act.

"Berkeley High was forced by the office of the Undersecretary of Defense in a complete action of extortion to undermine the privacy of BHS students by releasing students' information to military recruiters," said Daniel A. Sandoval of World Can't Wait.
Extortion = threatening to not give folks $10 million if they don't do something for you.
"We are collecting signatures from Berkeley High School students to support the fact that majority of the students are against the war."
That's great. I mean, there will never be another war, nor will wars ever end, so being opposed to this war is equivalent to opposing a military recruitment policy.
The petition says, in part: "We oppose this unjust war. We support the soldiers who resist fighting this unjust war. We refuse to serve in an unjust war. We want nothing to do with this unjust war. And we will set the example and call on all students across the nation to refuse to serve this unjust war. NO MORE!"
Holy crap. That's just pathetic. What does it even have to do with the recruitment policy?
Sandoval sad that the letter would be sent to the Robert Gates, U.S. Secretary of Defense, on Wednesday.

"However, the names of the students will not be disclosed," he said.
"Hundreds of anonymous people oppose your war! Really! So let's see some change!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/12/2007 10:32:00 AM #
Comments (1)
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Monday, June 11, 2007
Haha! That'll work perfectly!

The ASUC Senate Facebook Forum.
This group is created to facilitate communication between ASUC Senators and the campus community about school issues in order to increase transparency in the ASUC.
Awesome! Maybe that kind of forum should be hanging out on the ASUC's webpage, rather than Facebook (where, of course, only Senators' friends will see it). We'll see what kind of steps the ASUC takes to do something like that next year.

Anyway, in a dramatic reversal from last year, the number of senators whose last names begin with A has dropped from 6 to 0. We do have 4 W's, though, so we'd best keep an eye on them.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/11/2007 06:59:00 PM #
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Eh....

Suicide!

Folks know I find society's view on suicide to be symbolic of its disdain for humanity. Thomas Bowden has stuff to say about it. On assisted suicide legislation:
Elsewhere in America, however, the political influence of religious conservatism has thwarted passage of similar legislation...
No, it's not just a religious conservative thing. It's nice to have some group upon which to hoist blame for all the problems of the world, though. The denial of folks' ability to make free choices for themselves (and/or declaring those who make choices they disagree with insane) turns out to be a pretty common thing for liberals, too. The San Francisco Chronicle did a whole series on Golden Gate Bridge suicides, never once acknowledging those who jumped as people making their own decisions.
If a religious conservative contracts a terminal disease, he has a legal right to regard his own God's will as paramount, and to instruct his doctor to stand by and let him suffer, just as long as his body and mind can endure the agony, until the last bitter paroxysm carries him to the grave. But conservatives have 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.
The fact that Bowden cannot comprehend the point of such a choice doesn't make it "mindless." Here again we have the same "people who don't think like me and who place values on things where I wouldn't must be crazy!" attitude. At least he has the decency to let them do what they will, though.

Aside from the scapegoating and militant atheism, though, the piece is a good one and explains what should be pretty plain to everyone about what the "right to life" really implies.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/11/2007 12:49:00 AM #
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Time for suicide

That's special.
Athletes were treated to entertainment with three songs from former American Idol contestant Katherine McPhee...
"Former American Idol contestant" is the qualification here.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/11/2007 12:46:00 AM #
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Bad Move

In response to last week's "SHIP sucks" piece (but I thought we passed a "Safeguard Student Health Care referendum" fee!!!) from Monya De, Claudia Coyello gets the unenviable task of trying to defend SHIP without any basis. A quick read-through of both pieces shows that every single one of De's complaints seems to be upheld in the "response."

On the issue of folks who don't live in Berkeley:
We find that many patients prefer to see our nurse practitioners, all of whom have advanced graduate training and specialize in women's health.
They all specialize in the same thing? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of specialization?
As with all health plans, care needs to be authorized in order to be covered.
Yes, but with most health plans, the places that are authorized include folks of some degree of competence, rather than the Tang Center.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/11/2007 12:34:00 AM #
Comments (4)
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Friday, June 08, 2007
News!

I switched on Headline News to catch the headlines. It's something I can't do in the evening anymore. But at least my afternoons were safe... or were they!!?? Not today. No, there's breaking news, such as the fact that some famous person is going to some courthouse in some police car. Yes, they'll even report and repeat the number of that police car.

But whatever. They can cover what they want. What really bugged me was their attempt to explain why everyone cares. "Well, people envy her because she's beautiful and rich... and that's why they like to see her crash." Oh, we're the ones who want to watch it, eh? Then perhaps you can explain who it is that turned over two entire channels to watching her? Was it us? The viewer? No, I think it would be those same folks at CNN trying to explain why other people want to see it.

It's time for a mass walkout at your local national news service!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/08/2007 10:34:00 AM #
Comments (1)
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Tuesday, June 05, 2007
That's so mean

Comment!
you're seriously such a duche. you know that alcoholedu does nothing to help kids and yet you insist on posting sarcastic answers.
Yes, that pretty much sums it up. I dunno what the contradiction is, though.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/05/2007 08:00:00 AM #
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Sunday, June 03, 2007
Waka Wika

Yay! Our Wikipedia page has a box now! I love boxes!
Tax rate: US$ 27.50 per semester
Er... That's not a tax rate. That's a mandatory membership fee. A tax rate would imply we're talking about a government or some such.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/03/2007 10:21:00 AM #
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Friday, June 01, 2007
Case!

Eugene Volokh points us towards an interesting Ninth Circuit case holding that campaign spending limits by student governments are not violations of the 1st amendment. It may be worth reading, since many issues are relevant to some of our controversies. Some things I'm approximating, since I don't know the law particularly well:

1) The student government in this case seems to have limited autonomy. It's not entirely clear whether the ASUC has the same situation or not. The ASUC, as folks know, claims a lot more autonomy than it actually has.

In any case, this student government and its parent university are being sued, and the decision discusses 11th amendment immunity, which apparently prohibits the federal court system from ruling on some suits against states. An exception here involves requests for injunctive relief to stop a continuing constitutional violation, and is invoked because the plaintiff is seeking to have records expunged, which could have present and future harm. (The record is also the reason why it isn't moot, even though the plaintiff graduated.)

2)
The speech at issue occurred in the University of Montana student election system, and, subject to constitutional limitations, government has the power to control speech in its school election system to preserve the character of that system.
The reasoning here is somewhat patronizing, and would strike pretty deeply at ASUC autonomy if it was ever considered valid for the ASUC. The idea is that student government elections are an education function, and restrictions preventing interest groups or rich folks from dominating, as well as placing constraints, serve that educational function. (This analysis, if applied to the ASUC, would probably eliminate most of DAAP's bitching, since viewpoint neutrality is the only real issue here. Anything else could be considered for "educational purposes." In fact, the existence of an error-prone judiciary may very well be considered part of this process, and limit the ability of the federal court system to step in even if the Judicial Council clearly fucks up.)

3) The student government election is recognized as a "limited public forum." This means that government can regulate its use to its "intended purpose" (here education). The requirements are viewpoint-neutrality and reasonableness. Its existence as an entity influenced by "political speech" is rejected (no strict scrutiny required):
"The role of the ASUM officers is no less important to society than is that of the Montana state government."

...

Flint's arguments are unpersuasive.... The ubiquity with which political government is present to control facets of our lives is not—thank Heavens!—replicated by student government in students' lives.
4) The student government is clearly part of the university here. The reasoning seems perfectly applicable for the ASUC, so the ASUC would likely be seen the same way in any such case:
The University uses ASUM primarily as an educational tool—a means to educate students on principles of representative government, parliamentary procedure, political compromise, and leadership. In contrast to participation in state or national politics, participation in ASUM student elections is limited to ASUM-enrolled University students—students must maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average to run for office and only students are allowed to vote in the election. Unlike state and national governments, ASUM is a creature of the Board of Regents, whose policy calls for ASUM's Constitution and conditions the validity of the constitution on the University president's approval. Indeed, ASUM's entire operation is subject to the Board of Regents' policies and campus policies.
Also, in a footnote:
While the spending limit is found in the ASUM Bylaws, the limitation is nonetheless one imposed by the government on the forum. The University, as required by Board of Regents policy, has established ASUM as the associated student organization on the campus.
This issue wasn't disputed, though.

5) Not of any importance, but an interesting contrast on the topic of viewpoint neutrality:
The $100 limit does not apply solely to vegetarians, pacifists and Marxists, but not to meat-eaters, bellicists and fascists. Neither does the limit apply to candidates who might wish to abolish student government or at least intercollegiate athletics, but not to servile apple-polishers of the status quo or "jocks."
I suggest that, from now on, we refer to the ASUC whores as "servile apple-polishers."

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/01/2007 07:15:00 PM #
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