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Nap Time!!!

Friday, September 28, 2007
ASUC... D!

Over at emosnail, written by a former Chief Justice of the ASUC-Davis Supreme Court, he has released The Ultimate List of Shadiest People in ASUCD. I encourage everyone to go take a look. It includes events that are funnier than the ridiculous antics we go through here at Cal in student government.

He's also posted part of my application for Attorney General in this post, which poses an interesting historical question at the end.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/28/2007 05:00:00 PM #
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Och!

This isn't a good day for editing at the Chron:
Add this to the fact that they face no punishments for bad behavior, and what does it matter to them if they ram civilian cars while rushing to deliver equipment, for instance, or even kill civilians who happen to be in their way?

Well, the U.S. soldiers who are left to clean up their mess mind, that's who. As should every American who pays taxes.
I don't think you can use the "that's who" construction without first posing a question which asks "Who...?" Right now, we've got "What does it matter to contractors? The U.S. soldiers mind, that's who."

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/28/2007 01:18:00 PM #
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CalPIRG becomes legislative

Uh oh:
The College Textbook Affordability Act, supported by State Senator Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro) and sponsored by CALPIRG...
See, I would have expected the state senator to do the sponsoring, and the advocacy group to do the supporting.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/28/2007 11:53:00 AM #
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Out!

The United Auto Workers are getting feisty. As you know, auto workers lead discussion sections and sometimes teach classes here on campus.

I'm not part of the union, since they're pretty shameless about lying to undergrads about strikes. A union shill in this livejournal thread said:
"Obviously, if you have classes that are run by GSIs covered by the contract, they will be cancelled if there is a strike."
Ha! Haha! This is what unions have to do because they aren't actually as important as they want to be. Anyway, that person mysteriously vanished. Another union shill says:
"There's a good chance that when you show up on Monday, there won't be any tutors, readers or GSIs in class," said Dan Roth, a UAW employee.
There is indeed a good change that there won't be any readers in class. I don't think that has much to do with the labor dispute, though.

Anyway, they'd better start kneecapping now, because there are a lot of nonunion GSIs who might show up and make Roth look like a liar.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/28/2007 11:41:00 AM #
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Reading the Daily Planet, so you don't have to

That Chris Kavanagh fellow did the not guilty plea thingie. But the important thing...
He declined to talk to news reporters today. Approached by a television crew outside court before his hearing began, he denied that his name is Chris Kavanagh.
Heh.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/28/2007 11:40:00 AM #
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Thursday, September 27, 2007
Stuff

As expected, Alex Kozak was picked for ASUC Attorney General. They didn't decide on a Solicitor General, probably because their only two applicants are Ross Lingenfelder (the president of Berkeley College Republicans) and me. Watch them scramble to find a warm body to serve as placeholder.

If only they were required to give explanations for their decisions... what a riot that would be.

Bumped: I guess I should fill you in on some of the things that went on for this appointment. Apparently, they had to use an implicit nomination period, where, I guess, ASUC officials "should have known" they were supposed to nominate people. This sloppily attempts to get around the requirement to have nominations open for a week.

They also decided not to do interviews. To a certain extent, this is a more honest approach, because it better reflects how most of the Senate really does its decision making. (that is, they normally make their decision first, and then hold a sham interview/hearing/etc. when appointing/removing/etc. folks which has no impact whatsoever on anyone's decision) Still, if they don't want that to be their image, they sure aren't doing a good job of avoiding it.

I might post some pieces of my application later.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/27/2007 11:46:00 PM #
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Even worse

This story about how some folks blame Blackwater for failing to properly train/equip dudes who got deaded in Iraq and provked some battles or something is headlined on the Chronicle front page:
Probe finds firm responsible for murder of untrained guards and violent response by U.S.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/27/2007 11:37:00 PM #
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Brain hurt!

Let's see...
Days after a controversial organization began collecting voter signatures for a ballot measure to change California's winner-take-all primary, a founder of the GOP-backed group says its major players are resigning - and the group will fold - due to lack of funding and support.

...

The measure would have changed the state's winner-take-all means of awarding presidential electoral college votes to a proportional system that would have awarded 53 of the state's 55 electoral votes - one by one - to the popular vote winner of each of the state's 53 congressional districts. The other two electoral votes would have go to the statewide popular vote winner.
I thought we were talking about the general election, and this second paragraph suggests that, but the first is talking about primaries. Was there a completely different ballot measure I hadn't noticed?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/27/2007 11:22:00 PM #
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Shady

Oh, I forgot to mention this amusing detail from the ASUC Senate minutes last week:
Mr. Weiner asked if they could perhaps put up a temporary Web site immediately, since they've had the wrong information up there for so long. Ms. Allbright said that if anybody wanted to make it, they could work on it. Mr. Kunert said that as Chair of the ASUC Web Site Committee, he asked if there was a deadline in the contract for the Web site. Ms. Allbright said there was, but it was based on last year's Execs giving the company a certain amount of information. That deadline wasn't met, so all the timing was thrown out. That was her understanding. So some of the delay was the ASUC's fault. Also, Execs last year signed a contract for $6,000, even though only $5,000 was authorized. So Ms. Allbright said they had to ask the Senate for another $1,000.
Hmmmm... how much do you think this is worth?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/27/2007 07:13:00 PM #
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Others are coming!

Diversity! Blah blah and stuff stuff, of course, but check out this note:
Others pointed to questions over how the UC Diversity Statement can work within the legal constraints of Proposition 209.
Who are these others? They certainly aren't quoted or identified anywhere in the piece. Where did they come from? Who postulated their existence?

My guess would be that the people who then rebut this statement provided the reporter the hypothesis that such people exist. This way, the viewpoint of these "others" is completely limited to whatever their opponents want to say it is, so they're able to make their rebuttals sound as compelling as possible.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/27/2007 04:42:00 PM #
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Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Other stuff of note

Since September 1, the Daily Cal Editor's Blog has had one post, insisting that they were expanding. Conclude for yourself.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/26/2007 06:38:00 PM #
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Spiffy?

The ASUC has a new website. If it actually contained the information it has categories for, it might be nice.

The big thing I still want (a way to see what bills were passed an it what form without having to wait a week for the minutes, since the bills go into effect immediately) is not there. The text at the top appears to be designed to emulate kindergarten kids' writing, which says wonders about our professionalism.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/26/2007 06:08:00 PM #
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Not bias!

Bill to give SJP money for being unpopular. I find the discussions of the dangers of "hate and bias" to be amusing. Are hate and bias similar, and on the same level? SJP doesn't suffer from a lack of bias, after all. As a political advocacy group, you sort of expect them to be biased, and I can't see anything particularly wrong with it. The people who disagree with them are also probably biased, because people have opinions about stuff. Oh noes.

I find it hard to take seriously the argument that political disagreements that lead to vandalism are on the same level as hate crimes in the "South," as Nadir Shams says, where the issue is not "we disagree with your political views," but rather "we disagree with your existence." This makes it, I guess, a "bias crime." The horror.

By the by, some folks apparently speculate that SJP broke their own sign so they could claim victim status. They certainly weren't hesitant to try to take full advantage of it. Previous incarnations of SJP have done things such as impersonate Jewish groups to hurt their credibility with new students, so something like that is hardly beyond possibility.

Update: In response to Yaman, let me make a few things clear:

1) When I say "some folks," I'm talking about myself. It's a joke on the journalistic approach of writers attributing their own opinion to "some." That's not to say it isn't true about "some" (I have heard that speculation from others) but I don't want to make it seem like I'm trying to divert responsibility for my statements.

2) The suggestion that SJP broke their own sign is groundless speculation. I stand by my comment for what it is (groundless speculation), as I don't trust SJP to be honest on any issue their cause might benefit from.

3) The groundless speculation was included because of how ridiculously aggressive SJP was in trying to claim that it was somehow a hate crime against all Muslims. SJP is a political advocacy group that pisses off a lot of people, and has pissed off a lot of people in the past. (Even if it's a different group, it still took up the same name and will inherit that animosity.) For them to suggest that any unfriendliness directed their way is similarly directed at the entire Muslim community is also groundless speculation.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/26/2007 07:44:00 AM #
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Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Stuff from the week after two weeks ago

Jonathan Poullard is angry about the lack of civility on campus. Boo fucking hoo. Among the things he's angry about is Islamofascist Awareness Week in October, because people might do a counterpoint. Or something. I don't know anything about Islamofascist Awareness Week (though I think I can guess).

Nad Permaul wants the Auxiliary or SOB to be on the search committee for a new lawyer, since they need someone to do the business law stuff, and the ASUC sucks at business. It turns out that Mark Himelstein is retiring, or so the minutes suggest, which would mean we get a new lawyer. Yay! Hopefully, this one doesn't suck, and doesn't "serve[] the ASUC with distinction" as the minutes say Permaul said. A lawyer who doesn't serve with distinction may be more willing to take the side of the ASUC when it gets sued. But with Permaul demanding a seat (and the tendency of the ASUC to cave to the Auxiliary), the odds of that are pretty low.

Corey Jackson got up to bitch about deteriorating respect. I'm thrilled to see it. The idea that things need to be "civil" and "respectful" between the conflicting views leads to a very detached, internally supportive government structure, which becomes unaccountable to students. Open, bitter conflict is what makes the system work and remain open. Everyone getting along is a quick path to shutting the students out completely from the system.

Anyway, Danielle Duong complained about it, too. The conflict isn't all that obvious to us outsider-types, so now I'm curious.

The bill to make it so that Senators don't have to check out binders for office hours, also meaning attendance would not be taken, was discussed. Winnie Kuo got up and said that the honor system would work, and the change would just reflect what is already done. Which means, of course, that what is already done was in violation of the By-Laws. This, then, calls into question just how effective that honor system could possibly be, since apparently By-Laws were violated quite freely in the past. Albert Wu pretty much said so, suggesting that the honor system just wouldn't work.

Shortly after the discussion about the importance of transparency, they started discussing some money handout from the Greek Philanthropy Fund:
Mr. Weiner moved to go into a committee of the whole. The motion was seconded by Mr. Silver and passed with no objection. Ms. Allbright said they would have an informal discussion and minutes would not be taken. This meeting entered into a committee of the whole.
Awesome! Take all the interesting discussion about the broad approach to take for monetary allocation, the most important job the ASUC Senate does, and remove it from the minutes.

That Jena 6 bill includes some amusing statements in the final version. But first, in a discussion about whether or not to add a clause saying that the charges should be dropped against one of the students, Roxanne Winston has something odd to say:
Ms. Winston said she would like to thank the External Affairs Committee for spending so much time and coming up with a Resolution that would work for everyone. She felt it was necessary to include something about freeing Mychal Bell and dropping the charges against the Jena 6. These injustices were not new to the world, the United States, or her community. These six boys were almost being persecuted to the full extent of the law for something that was not their fault. If a beer bottle was smashed over someone's head and somebody made fun of that, the person's friends would probably want to defend them.
Wow. Seriously. Does someone making fun of your friend for having a beer bottle smashed over his head compel you against your will to deliver a 6-on-1 beating that extends well beyond when the target is conscious? Because that seems to be what Winston is saying. It's not their fault? Really?

The final bill is enormous, and includes a lot of factual assertions which are false or disputed, including a finding (by the ASUC Senate, the authority on such matters) that the hanging of nooses was a hate crime. No statute that it violated was noted, of course. Finding actual information on the topic is like pulling teeth, though, so I'll spare folks the meaningless discussion.

Van Nguyen has stuff to say about Lower Sproul:
Mr. Nguyen said that when he talked about Lower Sproul and redevelopment, the Chancellor said the students didn't want Lower Sproul redevelopment, as shown by the referendum they voted down. Mr. Nguyen said that wasn't what happened. Students had their fees increased by $500 by the Regents and didn't know what they were buying into with the redevelopment, and the University didn't guarantee it would match the funds the referendum raised. He asked how the campus expected students to buy into that, and they were silent. There were a lot of different interpretations of how policy worked on the campus, and Mr. Nguyen said he'll try to educate the Chancellor on how students felt about this issue. Hopefully, the committee being formed can come up with good ideas about a possible funding model.
On lawyers:
Mr. Nguyen said that Mr. Permaul told the Senate he thought a member of the Auxiliary should be on the Selection Committee. Mr. Nguyen said he felt that was problematic. The ASUC Auxiliary was an arm of the University. If the University sued the ASUC, or vice versa, this lawyer would be the ASUC's attorney. Ultimately, the decision was the ASUC's.
At least he's talking as if he won't be the University's tool. It remains to be seen if he can actually get results. But...
Mr. Weiner said he didn't see why the GA should have a representative on the Selection Committee for the ASUC attorney. It didn't seem they should have a non-elected rep added, especially since the ASUC represented all students. Mr. Nguyen said GA reps weren't elected like the 20 Senators, but the GA was part of the ASUC Constitution, and the ASUC attorney would represent the GA through Executive Officers and the Senate. It was more out of respect to the GA; but that was just his opinion.
Ah, that "respect" again. The respect that involves caving to every GA demand, no matter how unfair, one-sided, or baseless it is.
With Mr. Nguyen chairing the meeting, Ms. Allbright said she had a good time at the Regents meeting, although the Regents didn't care what she thought about anything, which was frustrating.
Hah. Haha. Hahaha. Taylor gets pissed about space allocations.
If any student groups came to Senators with concerns about the space allocation process, she would ask Senators to assure them that she was working very hard to accommodate all their requests. Many of them were impossible, but she was doing what she could. Any attitudes that disrespected her or her office would negatively impact them.
!!! Did I read that right? "Hurt my feelings, and I'll use my power to make you PAY!"

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/25/2007 06:26:00 PM #
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Next week and all that

Ouch:

A Bill to Amend Something Previously Adopted: SB 12: I like Gabe Weiner's title-writing approach. Apparently, they gave more money than the By-Laws allowed to some group or something.

A Resolution in Support of the Passage of the California DREAM Act: Figure it out.

A Bill in Support of Effective Student Outreach: No! Not effective student outreach! Then people might care about stuff! It takes the "Elected Official Announcements" section from Senate meetings where Senators talk about events that are going on, jobs they just got and want to brag about, apartments for their friends they're trying to rent, and the like, and puts it on a single announcement.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/25/2007 03:02:00 PM #
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By the way

I forgot this quote from Zachary RunningWolf:
Zachary Running Wolf, pointing to two little known UC documents, said that the university has admitted that the place where it plans to build its $125 million Student Athlete High Performance Center is a Native American burial ground.

"They want to build a gym where my ancestors are buried," he said.
Quick question for all you humanities types: Are all "Native Americans" related? Does the fact that someone might be one make all dead ones his ancestors?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/25/2007 01:11:00 AM #
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Trees!

Yes, trees. Dave Rhoads (Rhoades, according to the Daily Cal) and Gabe Weiner write in support of tree-killing. Matthew Taylor writes in support of student-killing. His organization is called "Free Speech Free Trees Student Coalition," apparently.
Is nature sacred? Who has the right to declare it as such?
Me! Keep that question in mind for the rest of the letter.
For me, these questions are at the heart of the Oak Grove conflict. Thousands of people love the trees and see the grove as sacred.
Do those thousands have the right?
How would you react if the university planned to bulldoze your place of reverence to build a training facility? Would you believe that your holy site was the only place that could accommodate the building? If your sacred place were located on public land, would you concede to the stewards of that land the right to destroy it?
Counterquestion: How many of these protesters actually stopped by to revere the trees before these plans came up?
As a Jew, I prefer the Oak Grove to a synagogue.
Dare I note that this may be related to the availability of synagogues elsewhere?
Let's not pretend that student athletes and oaks advocates are in fundamental opposition. Numerous athletes, including football players, love the oaks. Some of them party at night with the tree-sitters. Some are afraid to speak out because it would risk their scholarships.
That's an amazing accusation. I'd like to see it backed up, if Taylor isn't a liar.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/25/2007 01:01:00 AM #
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Opinion supplement

When you think of important issues, you obviously think about controversies over cartoons published in newspapers at Central Connecticut State University. With that in mind, the Daily Cal writes an editorial about a cartoon that made people angry or something. As good journalists tend to do, they don't actually provide the information you need to judge what the hell they're talking about. So I'm going to have to pick up the slack and note that you can find the cartoon here (PDF warning) on the last page.
As an independent student newspaper, we understand that there is a fine line between controversial material and material that is blatantly obscene and offensive.
Apparently not. Is there really a line, fine or otherwise, between the two? Can't something be both blatantly obscene and offensive as well as controversial?
However, The Recorder, Central Connecticut State University's student newspaper, clearly overstepped that role when it decided to publish a highly inflammatory cartoon.
What "role" is the editorial talking about right now? Nobody knows.
The illustration depicts cartoon figures referring to a 14-year old Hispanic girl locked in a closet who was urinated on by one of the characters.

Controversy and satire can be effective tools, but only when spurred by some event or with some intent in mind. The Recorder's cartoon exhibited no signs for either case. Such an action is irresponsible and reprehensible.
You heard it from the Daily Cal, folks. Controversy and satire must be spurred by events or intents. I hope you don't use satire meaninglessly and pointlessly with your friends.
Stephanie Bergeron, an editor at The Recorder, wrote, "If we try and censor art that ... offends us, we will not progress." If this piece were meant to generate discussion, then why refuse to reveal the identity of the artist behind the work? It seems more cowardly than progressive for someone to draw a contentious piece anonymously.
Why would the identity of the artist matter at all in terms of whether or not it can generate discussion? And again, is there a line between being cowardly and progressive?
If the artist is going to remain unknown, then editor Mark Rowan will have to be held accountable.
Would knowing who the artist was change this?
In addition, this is not the first transgression by the paper under the helm of Rowan. In February, The Recorder ran a satirical article which described the "magical experience" of rape. That the paper would publish another offensive piece only demonstrates that it has not learned from its previous error in judgement. The editors, who reviewed the cartoon before it went to print, failed to stop this impropriety.
Did it occur to the Daily Cal that the Recorder may not give a fuck about their concepts of propriety and good judgement? I know hearing a bunch of pissed off people bitching about something I did which was none of their business makes me want to continue doing it. I wouldn't find it surprising that if Recorder took the same approach.
The Recorder's case is an example of how determining whether content is suitable for print or not is a process that is essential to maintaining press freedom and legitimacy. Right now, the paper needs to admit that it made a mistake publishing the cartoon. In order to restore ties with the campus and community, The Recorder must either have a change in leadership or show a more sincere effort to learn from its mistakes.
OR ELSE!!! Spare us your righteous indignation, Daily Cal. You don't have any authority to assert what a free, legitimate press should do. When's the last time you broke a meaningful scandal?

Now, with that aside, let's take a look at whether the cartoon itself is "racist and sexist." I have a hard time ascribing such values to it, because it looks pretty meaningless to me. Can such completely gratuitous references really propagate racism and sexism?

The response in the next week's paper includes a well-placed jab:
The comic, which depicts a conversation between a square and a triangle, has provoked responses from organizations on campus such as the Latin American Students Organization.
And it's difficult to say if this itself is satire:
Students involved with the rally, such as Frank Vazquez, also touched upon issues dealing with the expansion and promotion of diversity on the campus.

"On behalf of the Latin Association, which both encompasses faculty, the Africana Studies, we would like to see what it is that the university is planning to do to diversify this campus after three years," said Serafin Mendez- Mendez, Chair of the communication department.

Mendez-Mendez has previously expressed intentions to take action against the paper.

"Pursuant to the dispositions of the Student Handbook, I request that judicial procedures be started immediately. I also wish to note that I reserve my right to pursue civil and/or criminal prosecution of Mr. Rowan, and his editorial staff," he stated in an email distributed via the faculty listserv.
Prosecution for what? Those bastards leave us with a teaser, and I want to hear the rest of the story!

My favorite angry letter is this one:
If you are 21 or younger, your family is libel too.
Well-played, Recorder.

They've had similar problems in the past, including an article called "Rape Only Hurts If You Fight It," on page 7 here (Also PDF, since it appears suspiciously absent from the archives). The editor, Rowan, apologized for that one.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/25/2007 12:16:00 AM #
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Friday, September 21, 2007
Opinion taken

The Daily Cal takes the courageous position that having money is good. I'd like to hear a counterpoint.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/21/2007 12:43:00 AM #
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Regents give Academic Freedom the Boot

Tobacco funding now needs permission from the Chancellor. Yay. *sigh* I love it when freedom gets suspended due to unpopularity.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/21/2007 12:33:00 AM #
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Stuff not worth noting

I was taking a break tonight and scribbled up an application for Attorney General, which I shipped on in. It was extremely respectful towards the Senators on the selection committee. They're already about 2 weeks late, though. I'll let you know how it goes.

Has anyone else in the universe actually seen this application, by the way? It's due today at 5 pm, but even though the ASUC has a glass case with space specifically to list open ASUC positions, there hasn't been any public notice aside from a post on the Facebook group. Even Alex Kozak, the heir to the Attorney General position, only received the application yesterday, and only after I had brought that oversight to the attention of some members of the committee. I don't know if I prompted him getting the application, but it strikes me as kind of sad that the application was out for a week and a half before anyone thought to send it to the dude they actually wanted to reach out to.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/21/2007 12:03:00 AM #
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Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Stuff of interest

I don't think there was any, today. Thanks to Instapundit, you get this link instead.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/19/2007 08:41:00 PM #
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Tuesday, September 18, 2007
UCSA, last week on ASUC

Andrew Peake, a Senator at Davis's ASUC (ASUCD), came to talk about whiteliners. It's been mentioned briefly here. Essentially, the UCSA said "no" when Davis asked for access to the Regents for its students:
Mr. Peake said he would like to talk to them about whiteliners. "Whiteliners" are what the Administration and the Regents calls it when students come to speak to the Regents. Years ago, the system was established where the UC Student Association decided which students could whiteline. Last year, ASUC Davis left the UCSA. So their students no longer had a voice to the Regents. Mr. Peake said he was there to ask for UC Berkeley's support in getting UC Davis students a voice. He's already talked to Mr. Montes about sitting down with the UCSA leadership. Early last summer, late last year, he talked to the UCSA President. Mr. Peake said that when he asked him the President gave him a simple answer, "No," and said he wasn't willing to negotiate. But there was now new leadership in the UCSA and the ASUC-Davis would really like some solidarity from UC Berkeley.
They're going to other associations, too. Best of luck to them. One could argue, I guess, that if they wanted access, they shouldn't have left the UCSA, but the UCSA should only be considered a representative of students as long as it's recognized by the students as such, not the Regents. When the students choose not to be represented by the UCSA, they still have a right to representation.

And yes, Danny Montes makes exactly that case with a disturbing comment:
UC Davis pulled out of the UCSA and wanted to have the privileges that were given to the UCSA.
Why does the UCSA have privileges? Is it for any reason other than because it represents students? Is it its own interest group? (This is part of the reason Davis left) If the UCSA doesn't represent all students, then, should it have those privileges?
The student reps from Davis want to pass a Resolution having the ASUC Berkeley supports Davis' efforts in getting a whiteliner, instead of taking with the UCSA and working out a way where they could get privileges or have open comments. Instead of having a unified voice, the Davis students were going to different campuses, and going backwards up through the UCSA. Mr. Montes said he saw that as problematic because it was a way to divide and conquer, something the Regents could use against the students. If the UCSA told the Regents one thing and UC Davis said something else, then the Regents would not take the students seriously and would use one of their voices against each other. If they don't have a unified voice, there was no way students would get things done through the Regents. It would be very problematic.
Yes, that's exactly the way it should work. If the UCSA refuses to take an approach that students agree with, it won't be able to claim authority as a "unified voice of students" because there is no unified voice of students. That's why UCSA needs to shut the hell up about stuff that it can't get a unified student voice to support, like affirmative action or money for illegals (both of which Montes pushed in the very same speech, without recognizing the connection at all). The problem isn't on Davis's end.
Mr. Montes said he knew it was important to hear what other campuses like UC Davis were doing, but the Senate should make sure Davis was going about things in the right way. These students were not talking to the UCSA and were still trying to get what they wanted. He agreed that Davis needed a voice and needed representation to the Regents. But they weren't doing it in a way that would result in a unified voice.
Translation: They weren't doing it in a way that would result in unified voice supporting our goals. The UCSA appears to be taking the "WE ARE THE TRUE PATH, COME TO US, MY CHILDREN" path, rather than the "we're supposed to be representing the interests of students" path.
If they want privileges the UCSA had to lobby for, then the Davis students should talk to the UCSA.
Hmm... I thought the UCSA was lobbying on behalf of the students, rather than for itself. Does the UCSA also claim the money saved for students through halting fee increases as its own? "We saved you this money, and if you want to use it, talk to us." (Yes, I know it's a total hypothetical, since the UCSA doesn't actually stop fee increases)

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/18/2007 05:54:00 PM #
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Other stuff, last week on ASUC

Van says:
Regarding the Athletic Center, Mr. Nguyen said he would bring something interesting up to explain the role of the ASUC in this discussion. The ASUC funded, created, and built Memorial Stadium. This was something he just found out a couple of days ago, and the reason students needed to be involved in the process, and why this meeting was so important. Students built Memorial Stadium. He wasn't sure where the ownership transitioned, or what happened, but students built Memorial Stadium, and they deserved a voice in this process.
Maybe he's just not clear on the concept of "transition of ownership." I don't sell my books and then demand they be used in a particular way on the theory that "I used to own it!"

It appears that instead of being angry about pictures of black men, they're going to be angry about the use of the term "manhunt."
Ms. Winston said that last week she told them that she might not want to be their friends,...
Yay! Someone who appreciates that contention in governance is a good thing, and that the Senate isn't about a bunch of pals hanging out and spending other folks' money on their own consciences and...
...and she made that comment out of frustration.
Oh. Nevermind, then.
During their training, on the last day, they wrote on the board what they appreciated about each other.
Some training. Is this what we pay for?
Finally, Ms. Winston said she got a job on Tuesday.
Oh, that's what we pay for. Senators need us to pay for all kinds of employees to run Senate meetings so that Senators can tell us about their employment adventures.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/18/2007 05:53:00 PM #
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Next week on ASUC

Scheduled:
SPECIAL ORDER: "MEDITATION & BREATHING SESSION" 7:30PM-8:00PM
Ganesh Nagaraj, President, Art of Living
...... Okay. Thanks for putting our time and money to good use, Senators.

A Bill in Support of Students for Justice in Palestine: SJP got their signboard hammered. Now they want money for it. Corey Jackson wants to give them money for it. It's like insurance, but free!

A Bill in Against Hate Crimes and For Solidarity at UC-Berkeley: So does Nadir Shams:
WHEREAS, this act of vandalism is clearly recognized as a malicious hate crime not just against the student group but against the entire Pro-Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim populations at UC Berkeley
... um... clear recognition doesn't mean what it once did.
WHEREAS, nationally, Muslims are a, highly victimized community and in the United States, post-9/11; and
Muslims get victimized at a much higher rate just about anywhere else. Especially in Muslim countries.

This bill also wants to bring back some task force, because when it comes to fighting hate crimes, there's nothing better than a task force.

A Bill to Select the New ASUC Lawyer: A chance! Mark "White Flag and a Checkbook" Himelstein's contract expires after this academic year. Maybe the ASUC can get someone who's willing to represent his client, rather than the opposition, in disputes.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/18/2007 01:15:00 PM #
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Comment, without comment

HEADLINE: Official Offers Comment On Residency Investigation

Actual story:
At last night's board meeting, Kavanagh said he had been instructed not to make any public comments about the case, but apologized to his fellow board members and thanked them for their comments and support. Kavanagh did not admit to any wrongdoing.
Huh... so, he made a comment that he would not make any comments?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/18/2007 01:12:00 PM #
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Monday, September 17, 2007
The true path to academic freedom:

Asking the chancellor for permission to submit proposals.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/17/2007 04:03:00 PM #
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Durrrrr

Scott Lucas engages in the same idiocy as this dude on the Republican power grab in California.
Well, it's come to pass that the state Republican Party has come up with a way to cheat.
The details of this "cheating":

Get signatures to put a favorable question on the ballot, and then...

Try to win that referendum vote.

An odd definition of "cheating," if you ask me. Just out of curiosity, does Lucas consider efforts to change to a national popular vote system cheating, as well, since it will help Democrats?
That doesn't sound so bad until you take two factors into account. First, politicians have carved up the state's congressional districts so artfully that in none of them is the outcome of a race up for serious contention. These districts represent an effort to protect incumbents, not set up competitive races. Under this plan, we would know the outcome of the presidential race long before any votes were cast.
Holy shit. He does the exact same thing that Diaz did. Here, I'll spell it out for you:

We already know the outcome of the presidential race in California long before any votes are cast

This is the very reason it's a power grab. How someone can not recognize this, despite their complaints about Republicans, is a mystery to me.
Second, because California would be the only large state to adopt this scheme, we would be tying our hands behind our back. If you're the biggest guy in a bar fight, you don't blindfold yourself just to make things fair. The net result would be the GOP gaining twenty-some votes in the Electoral College.
Tying our hands behind our back? Why is this? Is Lucas suggesting that the State of California should consider itself to have some kind of obligation to serve the Democratic Party, and any benefit to Republicans is considered a self-imposed crippling injury? I think Lucas has a more disturbing outlook on government than I initially thought.
Now to be fair, the Electoral College stands as perhaps the worst design for apportioning votes ever created, narrowly beating out reading cow entrails to fill the highest office. Remember that guy who won the popular vote yet did not become the actual president? Al something or other. Invented the Internet.
Remember those other guys who did the same thing? Or is Lucas again basing his concept of how to structure government solely on what would benefit his party in the short term?

Lucas then proceeds to give no particular reason why popular vote is better than the Electoral College.
But the way to do it is not by unilateral disarmament. It's a national problem that calls out for solution at the national level. There's probably a Game Theory solution here, but I haven't taken that class yet.
That's because you're an idiot. You don't need a class on Game Theory to know anything about Game Theory. The Game Theory solution here is a single-party effort to overturn elections entirely and ensure that their party always wins. It won't work, though, because people don't think according to the assumptions of Game Theory.
Furthermore, the state Democratic Party is sending out volunteers to talk people into not signing the initiative. So if you find two mangy signature gatherers arguing with each other about whether or not you should sign up, take the Scott Lucas approach to conflict management and duck out. Don't we all have papers to write anyhow?
Is that Lucas's stance? "Don't learn about or get involved in what's going on in government, because if you do, you might hurt my party"? It's not like "ducking out" is a neutral solution here. It's exactly what one side wants.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/17/2007 06:55:00 AM #
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Counting is fun!

Resign faster! The Judicial Council continues to bleed justices like a hemophiliac. This time, Rachel Smith is stepping out, with an unusual comment:
"My idealistic notions regarding the appropriate resolution of some of the cases that have come before us caused me to reconsider whether I could justify continuing to be part of this body," Smith said in the letter.
Ouch. A departure from the traditional "It's been a great time here" approach. The two notable Judicial Council cases during her tenure (speculate!):

The Judicial Council agreeing to extend the referendum deadline because the Senate wasn't competent enough to meet the one it set, in which Smith dissented, noting "Merely missing a deadline does not, in fact, make for an 'urgent situation'."

The Judicial Council having to deal with a pissed off DAAP with lawyers in tow (again) on its own, with ASUC Attorney Mark Himelstein running away like a little girl because he was terrified of the scary black man. The Judicial Council ended up doing some pretty embarrassing acrobatics to give up.

Now that she's resigned, though, she can say whatever she wants. It's not like she signed a contract to stay silent or anything. And I always have space. (hint hint)
The Judicial Council, which rules on cases within the ASUC, has nine seats, three of which are reserved for graduate students and six of which are open to both undergraduates and graduate students, said Kate Feng, chair of the council.
I hope Feng didn't really say that. None of those seats are reserved for anyone in particular. Three seats are chosen by the GA and six by the ASUC President. Still, since no one bothered to actually update the ASUC Constitution to reflect this, I suppose the error is understandable.
ASUC President Van Nguyen said that while the ASUC has been actively searching for new justices, they have had little luck in filling the openings, possibly due to the justices' two-year terms.

"Only three people have applied already, and they're not three which are qualified to take the seat," Nguyen said.
Oooh, oooh, I have a question! What makes a person "qualified" for the Judicial Council seat? As far as I can tell, all you need are literacy and patience. I don't even think being around for two years even matters, since no one else seems to stick around that long. Maybe we should hear about these qualifications from Van, so applicants can filter themselves. And remember, kids... beggars can't be choosers.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/17/2007 12:58:00 AM #
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Saturday, September 15, 2007
Ah

I discovered that the reason I didn't get a whole lot of information about the "Jenna 6" was because they were actually the "Jena 6," and the people who wrote the bill did what Senators often do: fuck up. Thus, my information was limited to those who had similarly misspelled the name of the town.

By the way, does the use of obviously one-sided reports actually help the cause? All it does for me is tell me that I need to go somewhere else if I want to find out what happened. E.g.:
In one incident, a black student was assaulted by a white adult as he entered a predominantly white party. After being struck in the face without warning, the young black student was assaulted by white students wielding beer bottles and was punched and kicked before adults broke up the fight.

...

Shortly after the lunch hour of Monday, December 4, 2006, a fight between a white student and a black student reportedly ended with the white student (Justin Barker, later arrested for having a rifle with 13 bullets in his truck in the school parking lot) being knocked to the floor. Several black students reportedly attacked the white student as he lay unconscious.
Were the other details not reported? Could they be asserted as fact without the "reportedly" prefix? Especially since the use of beer bottles in that first fight was disputed?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/15/2007 08:08:00 PM #
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Friday, September 14, 2007
Eeeeeeviiiiil

I will never believe a word Bilaal Ahmed says.
As more and more Americans are willing to approach Islam with an open-mind and educate themselves about it, they are finding that Islam is truly a religion of peace—a religion that emphasizes tranquility, not terrorism, through utter submission to God.
Utter submission denies your own will. If you have no will, or it's controlled by some other power, then your word is worth absolutely nothing. A free man can refuse to go back on his word. An utter submissive cannot.

I wonder if Muslims actually believe that explaining themselves in this way helps their reputation. The idea of utter submission is an abomination to a lot of folks, even among other religions, and this is an example of why.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/14/2007 01:13:00 AM #
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Plan revealed

Don't give yourself away!
The first section of the approved agenda, titled "Diversity and Inclusion through the Multicultural Center," focuses on the establishment of a multicultural center on campus, which would ideally be incorporated into the redevelopment of Lower Sproul Plaza, said CalSERVE Senator Maurice Seaty.

The committee also stressed the importance of supporting the "California Dream Act," which passed in the California State Assembly Tuesday night.

"We want to pass the 'California Dream Act,' so part has been done for us almost," Seaty said. "It is up to us to pressure the governor to sign this bill before it becomes an automatic veto."
I think I know one thing folks are going to be dubiously claiming as an accomplishment next election cycle.

If it's an automatic veto, I think you aren't going to be able to pressure the governor to sign it. If you can, then it's not really automatic.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/14/2007 01:03:00 AM #
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This is your brain on journalism

In other Daily Cal helpfulness news, if you've been wondering what an egg looks like when broken... wonder no more.
"As far as I know we had no harassment of freshmen," Slemp said, adding that "there was one incident with an AC Transit bus."

The senior who said he participated in the initiation this year said he and a group of friends followed an AC Transit bus and threw eggs at male students who looked like freshman as they got off.
Um... those two paragraphs do seem a bit incongruous, don't you think?
"The ones who run away are the ones who are fun to mess with," he said. "We don't throw eggs at those walking away, that's just not fun."
I hope they return fire. Then this guy will say something like "It's not fun when they fight back. My fun trumps all!"

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/14/2007 12:55:00 AM #
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Average size of bottles noted

Thanks, Daily Cal. We didn't notice that the bottle was larger than a normal one.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/14/2007 12:52:00 AM #
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State gives people permission to dream

Illegal immigrants get money! Yay!
"We live in a very competitive world and for California to continue to excel, we need to use every bit of talent available," said Chancellor Robert Birgeneau. "Undocumented students made their way all the way to Berkeley and that shows they are exceptionally talented people who overcame enormous barriers."
Hmm... this "if you got here, you must be talented" approach intrigues me. I assume, then, that Chancellor Bob 2.0 also supports allowing students who falsified transcripts when applying to stay, right? Speaking of using every bit of talent available, where does out-of-state tuition fit? That seems a bit at odds with this idea. All that matters is that they have the talent to get here, right?
Students are also pointing to the passage of the act as a victory after their large scale lobbying efforts.

The UCSA, the system-wide student association, partnered with a student group at UCLA and the UCLA Labor Center to advocate for the bill by lobbying at the state Capitol, said president Oiyan Poon.
How are those fee increase fights going? Do we just not get representation if we're in the country legally?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/14/2007 12:45:00 AM #
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Thursday, September 13, 2007
Ummm....

When you try to find thresholds, you gradually increase some value until some result occurs. Our justice system works the same way.
"Two million wasn't enough to keep Mr. Hsu from running," county Judge Bruce Raaum said today at a hearing in Grand Junction, Colo. "Let's see if $5 million will do it."
Yes, let's.

One commenter says:
So, basically, Grand Junction wants to make a quick $5 million?
An interesting idea.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/13/2007 04:46:00 PM #
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Neener

Protesting with maturity:
Dennis Cunningham, an attorney for the protesters, said the tree-sitters are generally non-disruptive and rarely engage in the activities the university is warning against.

"The fact that the university chose to put the fence up—that's the disruption," Cunningham said, referring to the chain-link fence that UC police built around the oak trees on Aug. 29.
This is the adult version of "I know you are, but what am I?" Is the concept that there might be more than one disruption in the universe just foreign to the fellow?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/13/2007 02:17:00 PM #
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Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Huh

The university lost in its attempt to get a judge to give them approval to remove the tree sitters or some such. I'm rather surprised that they need a court order at all, actually. Wouldn't it just be trespassing?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/12/2007 08:08:00 PM #
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Boring

So, that's two consecutive days of pictures of a black man getting arrested on the front page of the Daily Cal. Where are these guys? They might help buck up the Daily Cal for a change.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/12/2007 07:59:00 PM #
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BREAKING!!!

Jimmy likes Cindy, but Cindy has the hots for Carl. I heard Jimmy called Carl out after school.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/12/2007 05:56:00 PM #
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Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Last week, on ASUC

Last week was the discussion of the ASUC's vitally important football-tree-hippie stance.

Lisa Parker gave a guest announcement in favor of boring trees.
On the topics of biodiversity and mitigation, Ms. Parker said the oak grove was a 100-year-old community of living organisms and was the very definition of an ecosystem and of biodiversity. There were over 100,000 microfungal and microbial communities there.
Yes, there are ecosystems everywhere. Also up your ass. Do you wash your hands? How many microbial communities do you destroy on a daily basis?
Ms. Parker said she would like to appeal to the great athletes and would like them to consider whether or not they want to breath artificial air with a century-old community of ecosystem buried beneath their feet, earning corporate money.
Let's go ask.

Hey, Mr. Athlete, would you rather breathe artificial air with a century-old community of ecosystem buried beneath your feet, or would you like to use a practice facility somewhere else, which will also include artificial air, dead ecosystems under your feet (much older than 100 years), as well as the added benefit of longer distance to your field?
At the City Council meeting, a lot of students, especially the women athletes, were very articulate and outspoken. Ms. Parker asked if fighting adversity those athletes faced hadn't also increased camaraderie.
She couldn't be... could she? She's not saying "our beating up on them was for their own benefit," right?
The grove was a memorial, and she would ask if it was their students' place, in their short time at Berkeley, to take down a whole 100-year-old memorial. This also was a microcosm of what was also going on in the world.
Parker is what we call a "mindless conservative," who is terrified of change. To her, the mere fact that something's been around a while is sufficient for her to think it's wrong for her to change it. Are all things older than 100 years off-limits for change? Students will always be on Berkeley for a short time, after all.

Michael Kelly is one of those angry neighbors.
Mr. Kelly said he believed the fourth Whereas Clause was fundamentally inaccurate. It stated that for the entities that brought a lawsuit, the aim of lawsuit was to prevent the construction of a Student Athletic Center. That was not the case. The goal was to create a plan that did not violate California law.
Haha. Yeah. I bet. They didn't care at all about the building. They're really just a bunch of legal nerds like me who wanted to make sure things were in order. That's totally believable.

There was also some funny stuff going on procedurally. An attempt to prevent Senators from yielding to old geezers failed. Also...
Mr. Weiner moved to ask each speaker to state whether or not they were a student during Guest Announcements. Ms. Allbright said that would require a main motion, and require one week's notice. But the request was noted, asking speakers to identify whether or not they were students. It was up to individual speakers whether or not to acknowledge that request.

On a point of parliamentary inquiry, Ms. Kuo said that it appeared to her that during the voice-vote, people in the public voted who were not elected officials. Ms. Allbright said a division could be requested, and Senators should make that request if they felt a voice-vote was inaccurate. She would ask guests to please remain silent during voice-votes.
So, so likely.
Kingsley Cloane said she was a student, and to her, what was important about student politics, government, and activism was that as they learn and study, they also learn to interact with institutions. If they look at the grove now, the trees and people there have been ghettoized, which spoke volumes about the ethos of the institution, and of what was happening in this country and all over the world. This wasn't just students against an institution, but the City as well was taking legal action against the institution.
Ghettoized? I suppose that could, technically, apply, though it seems to be more upper class hippieized. And this may come as a surprise, but the City is also an institution.
Marcella Sadlowski said she was a student there, a Peace and Conflicts major. She would urge the Senate to vote against the bill. The oak grove was a sacred site, and even though there may not be expertise about bodies found at the site, it was indigenous land. People living in the trees were not anti-football, but were about life and about respecting sacred grounds.
Are you sure they're not anti-football? Because some of their supporters sure are.
Zachary Running Wolf said he came there in total respect. He was a Native American elder and leader. An elder in the Native community was considered a library.
So many jokes, so little time. Tell yours in the comments.
Matthew Taylor said a lot of stuff was flying around about why they should save the oak trees, but the bottom line was that people love these trees, probably thousands of people. Very deep scars would emerge in the relationship between the University and the community if those trees were harmed. The grove was sacred to people. It was childish logic to say that this spot was the only place at which to build a training facility. The University and City had enormous resources, and people could have such a facility as well as keep this sacred part of Mother Earth.
Odd words, coming from a fellow deriding "childish logic."

Anyway, the folks just kept on coming. If you ever get a chance, look at the minutes.
Ms. Allbright said the next speaker was Jessica Karadi. Ms. Karadi said she was a fourth-year student there. The Resolution under consideration was brought up out of concern for the athletes. She would like to compare the athletes, a minority of students, to the tree sitters.
Uh... obvious detail about tree sitters and minority status omitted.
Ms. Allbright said speaking time had expired. (Applause)
Well, not really. It's funnier without context, though.

Both Van Nguyen and Kriss Worthington pointed out how pointless the whole effort was. While I don't disagree... Kriss Worthington is complaining about pointless resolutions?

Taylor is called "Madam Allbright" in the FiComm report. I found that really funny, for some reason.

I'll mention it here, because there's no where else to mention it. The Attorney General Selection Committee, which was supposed to submit a nominee for approval by the third week (that is, tomorrow), hadn't even set a time by last week's meeting. They are going to be accepting applications until next Friday, which means they're going to be at least 2 weeks late. (When will they accept nominations? I dunno) If only there was an Attorney General to make sure they did their job...

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/11/2007 03:54:00 PM #
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Jims!

Coming up on ASUC:

BILL TO CORRECT THE MINUTES: The two whereas clauses pretty much say it all:
WHEREAS, The minutes for the August 29, 2007, meeting of the ASUC Senate were adopted September 5, 2007; and

WHEREAS, The minutes contained an error
Huh. I guess that means they shouldn't have been adopted, then, doesn't it? But come on. Expecting the Senators to do their job? What am I thinking.

A Resolution in Support of Campus Life and Leadership: This corrects some By-Laws to reflect the new name. Interestingly, the By-Laws are currently two names out of date (referencing the "Office of Student Activities and Services.") The references included "or its successor office or agency," though, so this isn't even a correction, so much as a brief update.

A Bill to Update the ASUC Outreach By-laws: This sort of updates office hour issues. One thing of note, though, is:
WHEREAS, ASUC Senators, as elected officials, can be expected to abide by the honor system and attend dutifully to their designated office hours
Ha! All right, previous Senators. Let's hear how true that is. Anyway, the bill kills the requirement to keep track of attendance. It might help, then, if it included a method of reporting an absent office hour holder by a student who goes to office hours. My understanding, though, is that nobody ever goes to ASUC office hours.

A Bill to Rescind the Combination of the ICF and EEF Senate Representatives: This is the bill I caused. It rescinds the selection process of the two committees, and then nominates both Senators to both committees separately. I can't say I'm happy about nominating the Senators through a bill, though as long as the nominations are still open for other Senators, if any are inclined, it shouldn't be a problem.

A Bill in Support of Justice and Equal Treatment for the Jenna 6: Long!
WHEREAS, the Jenna 6 have not received an equitable trial,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the ASUC shall support student organizing on behalf of justice for the Jenna 6.
Well, there you go. No clue as to what kind of "support" the ASUC is giving "student organizing." I actually don't know who the Jenna 6 are. Let me look it up...

Oh. Apparently, beating the crap out of people is being charged differently or some such based on race. I guess. Well, just don't beat the crap out of people, and you won't have to worry about it.

A Bill in Support of the Cal Greek Community: This bill gives the Greek Officer of the ASUC the duty of representing the Multi-Cultural Greek Council and the National Pan-Hellenic Council, as well as the Interfraternity Council and the College Panhellenic Association.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/11/2007 11:54:00 AM #
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Monday, September 10, 2007
Wooo!

Wild rumors with guns and stuff. Have at them!

Update: Boringer version here. The Daily Cal's internet arm has exploded for the moment, though.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/10/2007 10:55:00 PM #
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Sunday, September 09, 2007
Holy stupid logic

Moving on to a John Diaz column on the local Electoral College reform plan, to allow votes to go by Congressional district rather than winner-take-all in California:
In reality, if California were to apportion electors by congressional district, its current prize of 55 electoral votes suddenly would be diminished to a competition for perhaps five electors (equivalent to Idaho or West Virginia) at the most.
That's because most districts are noncompetitive.

But hold on a second. If we're only talking about noncompetitive votes, is five electors really something that's diminished to? Right now, after all, California isn't competitive at all. That is, there is competition for zero electors. It seems that moving to five competitive electors would be an increase.
I agree that the Electoral College system - with its winner-take-all formula in 48 of the 50 states - is less than democratic. Just ask Al Gore, who won the popular vote but lost the election in 2000. The solution, however, is to elect presidents by direct popular vote, not to let partisans started tinkering with modifications that benefit their candidates in particular states.
The solution is the one that helps Democrats, not the one that helps Republicans. I think it's really hard to argue that this "reform" isn't more democratic than the winner-take-all approach. If folks are so worried about district gerrymandering, why not apportion votes based on the popular vote in the state? Would Diaz's objections fade?

Of course not. The problem isn't so much the gerrymandering as it is that Republicans will get a bunch of electoral votes. Yes, it is a power grab, but it's one that makes things more democratic. The objection that "everyone should do it, then, or else we won't, because it only helps Republicans" isn't any less power-grabby.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/09/2007 12:18:00 PM #
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Explosively Obvious

I'm important!!!
Last spring, Cal graduate student Mandy Johnson wrote a paper looking at why parents picked certain schools in the choice-based San Francisco district.

"I just thought it would be interesting," says Johnson, who is now a policy analyst for the district. "I realized that it could be explosive if I could prove this."
What was this explosive result?
The top factors correlated with low demand were the prevalence of low-income students and - here's the really troubling one - race. Specifically, Johnson found, "as the percentage of African American students in the school increases, kindergarten demand decreases."
Er... I didn't realize that wasn't obvious.
By the way, for those assuming this is something that can be explained away by the interplay of race and poverty, it isn't. Johnson said she used a statistical tool called regression analysis, which allowed her to isolate factors such as income and skin color. For example, the researcher found no correlation between school choice and the number of Latino students, who are disproportionately lower-income.
Oh, hey, a statistical tool. Of all the statistical tools to use in order to isolate factors, regression analysis is the one you don't use. Indeed, regression analysis requires independent predictors. If they are highly correlated (as race and poverty are), then regression analysis is going to give you ridiculous results.

The statistical tool you're looking for is called "control." You compare schools of similar socioeconomic status (according to some measure) and look for racial correlation. This is how you "isolate" factors. Still, the measurement needs to control for a lot of other things. The comparison to Latino students may also serve as a control of sorts, but that's not regression analysis.

The conclusion is blindingly obvious, of course, so there wasn't any need for even a bad analysis. I don't know if the analysis was good, by the way, but the reporting by C.W. Nevius at the very least suggests he doesn't know what he's talking about.

Update: Actual study here. The study suggests both directions of causality (i.e. black people and poor people may also just suck at picking good schools in S.F.'s school selection process) are possible. But it looks like the study just went ahead and did the regression analysis that C.W. Nevius reports, which seems downright stupid.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/09/2007 11:53:00 AM #
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Saturday, September 08, 2007
An odd approach

How does Arnie plan to save the GOP?
The governor urged his fellow Republicans to return to the political "right of center," welcome independent voters and accept solutions to problems such as global warming and a lack of affordable health care that are supported by a majority of voters of all parties.

...

Schwarzenegger said the number of independent, unaffiliated voters is growing - and they "generally agree with our core principles," including lower taxes and less government. "They can be reached."
So... Arnie's plan for courting independents who agree with core principles of lower taxes and less government is... government health care and government regulation to fight global warming? Fascinating.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/08/2007 06:10:00 PM #
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Friday, September 07, 2007
Um...

What situation leads to receiving an unsolicited e-mail from the Chancellor asking you to keep the information in the e-mail "fully confidential"? *sigh*

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/07/2007 07:30:00 PM #
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Stop the presses!

BREAKING!: A national candidate for office is trying to get votes from a group that makes up half the population of America.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/07/2007 07:01:00 PM #
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Ha!

Rio Bauce is moving on up. I recall an AIM conversation with him, once. I had criticized some pointless exercise in futility over something or other, and when noting it was immature, his comeback was "BUSH WAS IMMATURE!!!" I wasn't particularly impressed with that as a defense. There were a couple "Haha, you're giving me more publicity, so thanks" moments, which I think he thought were supposed to cause me discomfort, too.

Funny guy, that Bauce.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/07/2007 06:58:00 PM #
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Does Becky O'Malley take bribes?

Becky O'Malley writes an editorial with her usual warped worldview in order to deride her enemies on the football-hippie-tree thing.

One has to wonder, though, why she writes this piece. She certainly doesn't have to, since most folks who read probably agree with her. Perhaps someone, such as anti-UC folks who are wealthy enough to fund having folks sit in trees for months, are cutting her some checks.

Baseless accusation, you say? O'Malley doesn't mind, don't worry:
The sponsors of the ASUC resolution put out a Facebook call-to-action before the City Council meeting:

"LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!" Meet on the Sproul steps at 3:30. We will take the bus to the City Council special session together and let them know we want a safe and state-of-the-art facility for the best student-athletes in the country!"

Why sports-minded young folks thought they needed a bus to get to the City Council chambers, a few blocks from Sproul, is not clear. Perhaps someone, for example the Cal athletic department, offered to provide a bus for them?
Well, that's okay. Wild accusations are perfectly acceptable in editorials. And news articles, for that matter:
UC Berkeley did its own mobilization, bringing student athletes, their supporters, university officials and others to speak to the council in favor of UC's offer.

...

"Several women's teams have no facilities," Berkeley resident Mitchell Wilson told the Daily Planet before the public comment period began, adding that building the stadium anywhere else would be "radically inconveniencing students." Wilson, who held a printed sign calling for settling the lawsuit, said he is unaffiliated with the university.
But let's move on. On a letter from that Vice Chancellor dude:
"Moreover, seismologists and engineers know from studies of past earthquakes that the level of ground shaking is approximately the same right next to a fault as it is anywhere else within two miles of the fault".

Exactly. Shall we discuss the failure of logic in the preceding paragraph, class? Proving that there are no active fault lines under the site proves.....what? Within two miles, it's what we all agree is a toss-up, pun intended.
I'm not quite following the failure of logic here... is O'Malley suggesting that no one should build anything within 2 miles of a fault line? We're going to have to move a shitload more than just an athletics facility to pull that off.
One more point: on Thursday the UC student council, now grandly named the ASUC Senate, passed a resolution saying, among other things: "the ASUC encourage the City of Berkeley to engage in dialogue with the University of California regarding a settlement before the lawsuit goes back to court on Sept. 19, 2007."
How old is the name "ASUC Senate"? I don't know. I don't think it's particularly recent. At least, not recent enough to warrant a "now grandly named" comment. Besides, I don't think I want to hear about grand naming from a lady who runs a twice-weekly Berkeley Daily Planet.

Finally, O'Malley reveals her superhag status with:
And not all students responded enthusiastically to the rallying cries. Here's one Facebook naysayer: "Use that money to pay for tuition. This is a public university, not a football fan club. If our donors don't like us without a good football team, then what does that say about them? College is about education, not thinly-veiled homoerotic wargames. We have a real war going on, anyway. You want to see grown men hurting each other, switch on CNN. Only in Iraq, sometimes kids get in the way."

The writer has no business blaming only gay men for excessive drooling over virile football players, since many women have the same problem, but otherwise he speaks for a lot of students and alumni, and for many Berkeley citizens.
Uh... has she never heard any discussion of homoeroticism in sports? When you say sports are homoerotic, you aren't saying that sports are a place to showcase hot guys for gay watchers. Not even close. Apparently, she knows less about sports than I do, which is impressive.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/07/2007 11:02:00 AM #
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Highly effective ASUC resolutions

Football-hippie-tree thing!
After hearing from many community members, the ASUC Senate passed a bill at their meeting Wednesday night expressing support for the Student Athlete High Performance Center and calling for continued negotiation efforts between the city and university over the project.
That doesn't sound all that strong, actually...
In its final form, it urges further settlement attempts between the city and university, and includes an amendment requiring ASUC President Van Nguyen to set up a meeting to facilitate discussion between stakeholders with an interest in the stadium area project.
There's the problem... not enough Van. With Van, everything will work out. Does the ASUC suck even at making meaningless resolutions, now?
"When you side with the system, there is something wrong. The system is always oppressing," said CalSERVE senator Roxanne Winston.
That's a pretty absolute statement. Does that make Winston an oppressor, for being part of the ASUC system? Did she think the stereotype of Berkeley students being against things just for the sake of rebellion needed reinforcement?
Many students and community members came to the meeting to voice concerns over the bill, particularly those who are opposed to the planned removal of 26 coast live oak trees at the site of the planned athletic center.

"Football is not going to stop global warming," said Zachary RunningWolf, a protester and former mayoral candidate.
Um... neither will 26 trees. Apparently, it's wrong to do anything that doesn't stop global warming. I realize it's an important issue for a lot of folks, but that doesn't mean everything else is wrong. Imagine a conversation with RunningWolf on some other topic:

You: I could really go for some pancakes...

RunningWolf: Pancakes are not going to stop global warming!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/07/2007 10:55:00 AM #
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Highly successful city programs

There's an interesting detail in this article about a dead guy:
Despite a $15,000 reward, no one has come forward with information, said Berkeley police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss.

Kusmiss said no one has claimed a reward in the conviction of a criminal since the City Council began offering them.
Hey, at least things aren't going worse than usual!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/07/2007 10:53:00 AM #
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Wheee....ee

So, that Judicial Council case got accepted. The hearing's scheduled for Sept. 24, which actually leaves enough time for the Senate to have two meetings. That means they can completely bypass the hearing with a legitimate by-law suspension, either to allow the two committee appointments to be combined, or to allow them to renominate two for each committee (they may be able to do this latter one without a suspension, though it's a bit weird, since they already did make appointments which haven't yet been declared unconstitutional). I sure hope they do one of these, because hearings are terrible, and usually pretty pointless.

There may not be enough support, though, for either. Gabe Weiner moved to reconsider combining the nominations for the two committees, and that motion failed 10-10. The original motion to combine the two passed by unanimous consent, but this probably just meant no one was quick enough to decide to oppose it. (This, of course, is the reason By-Law suspensions shouldn't be done without public notice. Judging from the motion to reconsider, had the motion to combine the two been done through a bill, so that Senators would have had time to think about it, it may have failed. The will of Senators shouldn't be bypassed simply by moving so fast that no one can decide anything.)

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/07/2007 08:09:00 AM #
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Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Oh, I forgot

So, I filed a Judicial Council suit this morning on the topic of joint Senate representative appointments or some such... it's really boring stuff, and I mention it at the end of this post.

I was hoping the Judicial Council would allow us to just argue by brief, rather than having a whole hearing, since it's just an interpretive question without evidence or anything, but it seems they want one of those horrible, horrible hearings which are impossible to schedule. I'll keep you posted, or maybe not.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/05/2007 08:04:00 PM #
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Choices

So, some dude has been a fugitive for a decade or two. He turns himself in. You give him bail. He runs away. Uh... oops.
Deputy Attorney General Ralph Sivilla, the prosecutor who appeared in court today, said he would not second-guess his office's decision to agree to bail for Hsu rather than argue that he should be held without bail.

"I'm not going to comment on whether it should have been done or not," Sivilla said. "He had a large bail amount. He made that bail, he just didn't show up this morning."
Yeah. I think you've said enough.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/05/2007 04:44:00 PM #
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Tuesday, September 04, 2007
R

Pirates!!!
College students beware: Universities are ratcheting up punishments for illegally downloading music and video from your dorm rooms this school year in an effort to tamp down the popular pastime.
Downloading music and video from your dorm room? That doesn't make sense at all.

Stanford has three full-time employees doing the bidding of the RI/MPAA. Hahaha! Meanwhile, here at Cal...
After receiving notification, students are required to remove illegally downloaded material from their computers. A computer technician will be sent to inspect the computers of students who assert their innocence.
I'm a bit curious about this. What kind of inspection would this be? Show me the contents of your hard drive? That's a bit overbearing, especially since they'd be acting on an accusation without any proof whatsoever. It seems like it would be pretty trivial to hide evidence, in any case.
Ellen Chiu, a UC Berkeley freshman, said she uses only legal file-sharing services to get songs by her favorite musicians.

"I'm a good Samaritan," said Chiu, who was sitting on a bench outside a dorm listening to music playing on a friend's laptop. "The rules don't affect me because I don't download."
I don't think that's what makes a good Samaritan.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/04/2007 10:03:00 PM #
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Last week, etc....

Now, for the minutes from last week's meeting.

THINGS OF NOTE!!!!

Apparently, the ASUC Senate has lost its podium.

Van Nguyen gave his "State of the Association" speech. Talk about boring naming. We're supposed to be trailblazers here, and we've just gone and copied the "state of..." formulation from everyone else. Why not the "Association Awesomeness Assessment?"

The ASUC now has a faculty representative, chemical engineering professor Dennis Lieu.

Nad Permaul said a bunch of stuff about how the ASUC stores suck, and need to bring in more money. I want to remind folks that ASUC Senators get a 20% discount from at least part of the ASUC store. I'm waiting patiently for ASUC folks to show a little bit of principle and refuse to use that discount. It's easy for Senators to bitch to students about how they aren't patronizing ASUC stores, but when they go and take enormous discounts for themselves, somehow the complaints lose their punch. "What we need is for more people to buy from us. We, however, will not do so unless we get big discounts, because money for us is better than money for the ASUC."

One of the issues that Chancellor Bob 2.0 wants to focus on is giving money to illegal immigrants. But somehow, fee increases just keep on coming...

Says Graduate Assembly President Josh Daniels:
The GA will have free food and runs a good meeting.
Actually, that food isn't free. It comes from the fees of graduate students. Now, sure, if you're an ASUC official who sees nothing wrong with stuffing your face on student fees, I guess it does seem "free." But a tiny bit of shame might be welcome.
Mr. Daniels said there was another issue with the Class Pass, which he hoped that either EVP Allbright or another ASUC Officer would raise to the Senate. When the Class Pass Referendum was approved three years ago, there was an expectation of services and service enhancements that the campus would get, and not a single one of them have been realized. So hopefully someone, if not him, will come to the Senate with specifics about that. He just wanted to give them an update on that. In essence, students were paying for a service they weren't getting. On principle, that was completely unacceptable. He hoped the Senate either asks their Officers about that or talks to him about it.
Wow! Surprising! Not so much that nothing got done, but rather that this is coming from the fellow who pushed a fee referendum to give the university money without asking for anything in return, on the assumption that we'd get it eventually or some crap like that. This, of course, follows immediately after he noted that the Administration can't be trusted.

One thing that was done during appointments and scheduling was "recessing until the discretion of the Chair." This is something I have serious problems with, because it probably violates the public posting requirements. A person should be able to see the public posting, find out when meetings are, and then know when the meeting will reconvene if it recesses while she's there.

Taylor Allbright went heavy-handed in terms of committee appointments:
Mr. Osmeña asked would happen if the assignments on the board were not approved. Ms. Allbright said they would have to keep going until they find something they approve. If it failed, she would have to make nominations again. She'd make the same ones, and they'd continue forever.
The Senate also violated the Constitution by combining the Intellectual Community and Educational Enhancement committees:
Back in session, Ms. Allbright said that VP Lee requested a motion to combine the Intellectual Community and Educational Enhancement Fund Committees. She would consider this a motion to suspend the rules and said they'd vote on them at the same time. Approval would require a two-thirds vote of those voting, since it was a vote to suspend the rules.
Suspending the By-Laws is a main motion, and is thus subject to public posting requirements, and cannot be done in the same meeting that it's proposed. Suspending the rules is different, but since the nomination processes for both committees are defined in the By-Laws, they likely cannot be combined without a By-Law suspension. I know a number of Senators had a problem with this combination, and they should be aware that it was probably done in violation of the Constitution.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/04/2007 08:09:00 PM #
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On Danielle's name

I'd like a confirmation from someone on how Danielle Duong's last name is punctuated. The committee listing I received uses apostrophes, but the minutes suggest that those aren't apostrophes, but accent marks over the u and the o. Does anyone know the right answer? (And damn those ñ's. This is going to be a grim season for the typists.)

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/04/2007 06:57:00 PM #
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Committees!

Here are the three major standing committees:

Finance Committee: In charge of handing out money, the only meaningful task the ASUC accomplishes.

Philip Kim (Student Action)
Maurice Seaty (CalSERVE)
Grace Shen (Student Action)
Gabriela Ureña (CalSERVE)
Gabe Weiner (SQUELCH!)
Roxanne Winston (CalSERVE)
Chris Wong (Student Action)

Constitutional and Procedural Review: In charge of fucking up the rules beyond any kind of logical sense. Also in charge of some other boring stuff that everyone hates doing, like dealing with certain appointments. Where Republicans go, because everyone hates them.

Rebecca Coleman (CalSERVE)
Daniel Galeon (CalSERVE)
Lisa Patel (Student Action)
Chad Kunert (Berkeley College Republicans)
Winnie Kuo (APPLE Engineering)
Corey Jackson (Student Action)
Christian Osmeña (UNITE Greek)

University and External Affairs: The loudest and most meaningless committee, this one is in charge of declaring the all-important ASUC stance on topics. Generally volunteered for by people who don't want to do actual work for students, and would rather just shout out their opinion. *cough* DAAP *cough*

Danielle Du'o'ng (CalSERVE)
Jason Louie (UNITE Greek)
Dave Rhoads (Independent)
Nadir Shams (Independent)
Scott Silver (Student Action)
Albert Wu (Student Action)

Some thoughts:

Them CalSERVE folk made out like bandits in terms of actual power.

Danielle Du'o'ng has a lot of apostrophes in her name, according to the committee listing I got. I wonder how I missed her when I was handing out endorsements for apostrophes.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/04/2007 06:38:00 PM #
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This week, on ASUC

I've found my way onto the mailing list, and so, this week's proposed bills are:

A Bill in Support of Clarification of Groups Affiliated with Cal Rec Club Sports Clubs through the Amendment of Bylaw Title II, Article III: Albert Wu has already distinguished himself as being a bit loose in terms of rule understanding, and here he proposes "that Title II, Article III, of the ASUC Constitution be amended to include:" some stuff. So, no, it's not actually a Constitutional amendment. The target is actually the By-Laws, which I think are supposed to define some stuff for the Cal Rec Club, which I'm not familiar with.

A Bill in Support of the ASUC Publications Director's Utilization of Facebook: Here, Wu is interested in seeing "that Title I, Article IX, Section 2 of the ASUC
Constitution outlining the role of the Publications Director be amended to include:" some stuff. Again, not a Constitutional amendment. I hope that Wu understands the distinction between the Constitution and By-Laws.

Anyway, this bill gives the Publications Director the job of maintaining his Facebook group, and putting up a bunch of information that really belongs on the ASUC website, rather than on some other guy's servers. I will give him credit for posting the committee appointments there, though.

By the way, Article IX, Section 2 involves the Attorney General. This probably is supposed to be aimed at Article IX, Section 5.2, which falls under the duties of the Public Relations (and not the Publications) Director.

A Bill in Support of Groups that Exist And Better Representation of Student-Athletes: I like Gabe Weiner's style:
Whereas, Title I, Article XI, Section 13 of the ASUC By-Laws states that "at least once [sic] Senator shall be elected by the Senate to represent the Senate to the Athletic Captain's Council...";
Whereas, The Athletic Captain’s Council does not exist;
Whereas, Electing a Senator to represent the Senate to a group that doesn't exist is a waste of time; and
Whereas, The Cal Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (Bear SAAC) exists;
Whereas, The Cal Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (Bear SAAC) is a group that represents Berkeley student-athletes;
And then the requisite correction.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/04/2007 06:09:00 PM #
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Last week, on ASUC

So, I seem to have dropped off the mailing list for agenda packets and minutes for the ASUC. I'll try to get back on. In the meantime, I finally secured last week's agenda packet, of stuff that, I guess, might be voted on tomorrow. Since the ASUC doesn't report what happens in committee until 9 days later (that is, 7 days after things out of committee get voted on), I don't know the state of most of these bills right now.

Interestingly, the agenda suggests that the pledge of allegiance was led by former Senator Victoria Mitchell, rather than Executive Vice President Taylor Allbright.

Onto the bills. Recall that I tend to skip bills that sponsor or fund events and groups, because I almost invariably know nothing about them.

A Bill in Support of the ASUC Advocacy Agenda: This year's proposed advocacy agenda is in the works. A number of "issue briefs" are sent to each of three committees to turn them into "advocacy agenda items," each picking one to be prioritized. The titles are:

Committee 1:
"Multicultural Center"
"Comprehensive Admissions Reform"
"UC Berkeley Desirability"
"California DREAMin"

Committee 2:
"Water Conservation"
"Earthquake Readiness and Preparedness for Students"
"Student Mental Health"
"Campus Safety"

Committee 3:
"Caesar Chavez Student Union and Lack of Student Recreational Facilities"
"Accessible Academic Space"
"Extra Surge Furniture in the Main Stacks and Moffitt Library During Finals Week"
"Rising Book Costs"
"EAP Programs to Israel and other countries"
"Campus Prestigious Speakers Forum"

I might go into these issues in more detail at a later time. (The briefs came with the agenda packet)

A Bill in Support of the 9/11 Memorial Service on Upper Sproul: This is a bill that does what the title suggests. My understanding is that most of the advertising money was gutted by Financial Committee because it came out to about $850. The Daily Cal and Facebook ads were removed, leaving $54.81 or so for fliers.

A Resolution in Support of a Safe Facility for Student Athletes: This is the famed resolution reported on by the Daily Cal. I actually do have the new version from committee. It's notably sponsored by the four independent Senators. CalSERVE's Rebecca Coleman, at least, isn't particularly happy about it. The bill basically says the ASUC wants the place built and so the City Council needs to settle its lawsuit and get out of the way. I don't really expect much in the way of results, of course. The bill says that the discussion in closed session on the topic will be on September 11, but there's such a meeting today, as well. I don't know if that means there will be two such meetings.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/04/2007 04:15:00 PM #
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Get ignored in person!

Apparently, folks are going to go tell the City Council to fuck off on the tree-football-hippie-fence thing. Good luck, dudes!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/04/2007 06:26:00 AM #
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Monday, September 03, 2007
Um...

'Zat so?
Science is confirming what most women know: When given the choice for a mate, men go for good looks.
I would hope most men know that, too. Does this mean all the ugly chicks with dudes know that their dude had no choice?

Are there actually men who lie to themselves and say they go for brains or something? At least for chicks, good looking guys also seem to be more intelligent, funnier, more thoughtful, etc. For dudes, it goes the opposite way: Hot chicks are assumed to be dumb as stones.

Anyway, we're looking at another one of those groundbreaking studies which point out the obvious.
Their study involved 26 men and 20 women in Munich, Germany.
Doesn't that sort of limit the breadth of the conclusions a bit? Does everyone behave like folks in Munich?
Participants ranged in age from 26 to their early 40s and took part in "speed dating," short meetings of three to seven minutes in which people chat, then move on to meet another dater. Afterward, participants check off the people they'd like to meet again, and dates can be arranged between pairs who select one another.

Speed dating let researchers look at a lot of mate choices in a short time, Todd said.
...... so... folks were given a short time to meet people, limiting their impressions to things that can be discovered in that time, such as looks. Surprisingly, those looks were important. Apparently, even pointing out the obvious is too hard for these folks.
In the study, participants were asked before the session to fill out a questionnaire about what they were looking for in a mate, listing such categories as wealth and status, family commitment, physical appearance, healthiness and attractiveness.
Attractiveness? Isn't that a bit tautological? "What do you look for in men, ma'am?" "I want them to be attractive!"
And guys won't be surprised to learn that women are much choosier about partners than they are.

...

Women's actual choices, like men's, did not reflect their stated preferences, but they made more discriminating choices, the researchers found.

The scientists said women were aware of the importance of their own attractiveness to men, and adjusted their expectations to select the more desirable guys.

"Women made offers to men who had overall qualities that were on a par with the women's self-rated attractiveness. They didn't greatly overshoot their attractiveness," Todd said, "because part of the goal for women is to choose men who would stay with them"

But, he added, "they didn't go lower. They knew what they could get and aimed for that level."
I don't think that's women being "choosier." That sounds a lot more like women being more willing to settle.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/03/2007 11:21:00 PM #
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Chillin'

I had a bit of free time and decided to post a couple oddities from last ASUC election that I never got a chance to post in full for space reasons. They can be found on the sort-of brand new Beetle Beat Extended, which I'll try to use from now on for such things.

This time, I've added Jennifer Avelino's shit-talking about Van Nguyen over Facebook, which I don't think was ever published in full, as well as her not-really-an-apology-because-everyone-was-mean-to-me statement from the ASUC Senate. For those who want to stroll down memory lane, have at it. (My posts on the topics are here and here)

If there's anything else that folks are interested in seeing, let me know.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/03/2007 12:03:00 AM #
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Sunday, September 02, 2007
Hmm...

There's something weird about saying Congressdudes "earn" pork for their districts. There's also something odd about this line:
[Nancy Pelosi PR flunkie Brendan Daly] noted that even though leaders do get a bigger share of the pork pie, the overall cuts in earmark spending this year will mean that all lawmakers - including leaders - will get proportionately less for their districts.
Which definition of "proportionately" do you think is in effect here? The first one that comes to my mind is mathematically impossible.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/02/2007 06:59:00 PM #
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