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Nap Time!!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Dot dot dot

It's one thing to send dumb worthless soldiers to do a job in war, but diplomats? That's going too far! Why, if they don't go and... you know... diplate, or whatever diplomats do, they get fired! I'm going to go buy a mop to deal with my tears of sympathy.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/31/2007 01:37:00 PM #
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Don't worry

Even if we don't bother to teach science to elementary school kids, they'll have a good education in diversity and social justice, which should be plenty.
Underperformance in science has frequently been linked to standards set by the No Child Left Behind Act, a 2001 federal law that measures students' proficiency in reading and math through state tests.

"The test relies way too heavily on literature and math. It is destroying the schools. It is destroying public education," said Cathryn Bruno, president of the Berkeley PTA Council.
Might I propose an alternate theory? Perhaps ignoring literature and math is destroying public education.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/31/2007 01:47:00 AM #
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Derrr

Clearly, the solution to increasing numbers and complexities of psychological disorders, as whined about here, is to go back to "beating the crazy out" of folks. Accommodation is appeasement against the onslaught of crazy people invading our campuses.
The number of students with attention deficit disorder has also increased steadily, with 120 students enrolled this year.
Why do I get the feeling that it's only the diagnoses that are increasing, not the number of actual crazy people?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/31/2007 01:41:00 AM #
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Run for the hills!

It's free money! Someone needs to stand up against this!
"If we allow Dow into this campus, which we pride ourselves in, it shows a complete lack of democracy and disregard for our opinions," said Dipti Bhatnagar, a graduate student in the campus Energy and Resources Group and a member of the campaign.
If the university doesn't do what I say, it shows a lack of democracy. When you gather, say, half the campus to oppose it, rather than a couple dozen folks, then maybe we can talk about whether ignoring your opinion means the end of democracy.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/31/2007 01:38:00 AM #
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Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Next week, etc.

Nothing too big in the agenda packet this week besides a shitload of spending requests.

A Bill in Support of the Laotian American Student Representatives: This is to cover the costs of LASR's broken sign to the tune of $100. I had heard that CLL was covering this cost, but I guess I was wrong.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/30/2007 12:19:00 PM #
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We'll do whatever you say

The Daily Cal decides to do what all good newspapers do: oppose rocking the boat or challenging authority. I'll just run to the money quote:
The withdrawal of UC Davis student governments does raise some issues that need to be addressed, but the ASUC must also remember that being part of UCSA is ultimately the right decision.
So, we start from the conclusion that we'll remain in the UCSA no matter what, and from that position of total submission, try to convince the UCSA to make changes?
Both ASUCD and the UC Davis graduate assembly have valid reasons for rescinding membership. UCSA unfortunately does not have a stellar reputation of being an effective organization that consistently gets results. Membership is costly—every year our ASUC pays more than $31,000 to the UCSA. It sounds tempting to follow in the footsteps of ASUCD, which used the money that would have paid for membership and instead hired a professional lobbying firm.
But don't worry. The Daily Cal is going to have a killer upside for remaining with the UCSA in the very next paragraph. One that will out-do spending two Senate Contingency Funds on ineffective lobbying.
However, while it does possess many problems that have affected its performance in lobbying for student interests, UCSA is an important organization that serves as the official voice of the students. Its strength comes from the fact that as a UC-wide organization it represents more than 200,000 students, a significant number that commands legislators' attention. If UC Berkeley were to follow UC Davis and leave, eventually there might be 12 smaller groups lobbying for a disarray of interests, which is even more ineffectual than UCSA's current status.
That's it? The UCSA already can't stop fee increases. How much more ineffectual can things get? It apparently doesn't command enough legislators' attention to accomplish things. Is it so important to have an "official voice" if it doesn't work?
If such a committee is formed, it should focus on finding ways to improve representation of UC Berkeley interests in UCSA and what can be done to help the association reach its full potential.
Like Davis did. For almost a decade. Maybe eventually we're going to have to say "enough is enough" and pull out. I suppose the UCSA can rely on folks graduating and turning over quickly enough that no one will remember when we said "maybe we should give the UCSA another chance." The new folks will then say "maybe we should give the UCSA another chance."

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/30/2007 12:02:00 AM #
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Racist!

Ronald Cruz is a racist. No, I'm not going to show it, I'm just going to assert is about my political opponents. That's how it works, right? So what does it mean to be opposed to the DREAM Act?
Ms. Yeh would sacrifice the social and economic future of California to defend white privilege and maintain a second-class status for immigrant, Latino, black, Asian and other minority students.
Black students? You mean all those immigrants pouring over the border from... uh... Blaxico?
The California Dream Act would allow low-income undocumented students to receive state need-based Cal Grants. The federal Dream Act would provide eligibility for federal loans and a path to citizenship. All U.S. citizens would remain entitled to these programs.
Also, resources are infinite.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/30/2007 12:01:00 AM #
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Monday, October 29, 2007
Heh

This probably doesn't mean a whole lot, as the university isn't likely to go through the effort of removing the protesters until it can follow up immediately with construction. But it'll be fun to watch the response.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/29/2007 04:34:00 PM #
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Whee

It looks like the ASUC has succeeded in getting a $1.50 fee reduction for the Class Pass Thingie. Now, if only they'd stop proposing $40 fee increases...

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/29/2007 12:46:00 PM #
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Sunday, October 28, 2007
Must... create... drama

Uh oh... Scott Lucas is talking:
Monday afternoon: In the midst of an already tense environment on Sproul Plaza, with opposing groups set up on either side of the walkway, glaring at each other with menace...
Haha. Good one. Is the world so boring to Lucas that he has to imagine conflict for his stories? I at least go through the trouble of actually creating the conflict.
I can conclude only by ceding the floor to my friend Tinley Ireland, who gave, for my money at least, the best speech of the evening. Just as the sun set, shining right into her face, she stood up on the steps of Sproul Hall on that same consecrated spot where earlier in the day the fear-based community had shouted itself hoarse about the people "over there" who are just waiting, waiting to get us. She stood there and told us about her faith. She talked about how the hardest part of following Christ was to love­ not just her friends, but her enemies too. To stop having enemies at all, to feel that universal pulse of humanity, that spark of the divine that flows through all of our veins.

At the end she asked who in the crowd didn't believe that Jesus was the son of God. Most hands went up. Mine did. She smiled, and as the light faded she simply and truly said, "I love you." I've been on the receiving end of a few punches in my life, but nothing ever hit me that hard. I don't know exactly what kind of politics or religion or philosophy that is—but whatever it is, where can I sign up?
A church, maybe? I'm not sure I really buy the argument that folks who disagree about theology are "enemies." Certainly not in the same sense as folks who disagree on whether or not the other should be alive, at least.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/28/2007 11:19:00 PM #
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Friday, October 26, 2007
In other local news

I hear that the ASUC finally appointed their Solicitor General and Elections Council Chair, only 2 weeks and 1 week late, respectively.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/26/2007 11:00:00 AM #
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Actually, the week wasn't all that Islamo-Fascist

The Daily Planet tries to cover UC happenings with its usual reliability, beginning with getting the name of the event wrong.
Khalid told the Planet that BCR's actions were threatening the safety of women wearing a hijab on campus.

"There was a man here on campus not affiliated with BCR who was carrying a huge sign that said 'Islam Abuses Women' and that it 'promoted polygamy and wifebeating' ... If you are someone who has no idea about what Islam is then that message could give the wrong impression."
Okay, so these two statements are explicitly not linked, but they seem to be written as such. Let's suppose, for a second, that the ridiculous suggestion that someone would see the crazy dude's sign and decide ISLAM BAAAAD!!! was true. How would that threaten hijab-wearing women? How else were hijab-wearing women threatened?
UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau stopped by the Pride Not Prejudice table Wednesday.

"You are doing the right thing," he told the students smiling.

He later told the Planet that the university was obligated to let students express their views since Berkeley was the birthplace of free speech.

"My pride lies with Peace Not Prejudice because they are conducting themselves in a dignified manner when they are being subjected to insult."
Yes, it was the Peace Not Prejudice folks who were being subjected to insult. Recall their piece declaring themselves the knowers of other students' opinions, beliefs, and motives.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/26/2007 10:53:00 AM #
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2 and 3...

The Daily Cal should be prohibited from trying to count to numbers smaller than nine. After failing to count to one, the Daily Cal now fails at adding two to three:
The ASUC Senate appointed two justices to the ASUC Judicial Council at its meeting Wednesday night, bringing the number of justices on the nine-seat council to four.
(Hint: If you have three justices, and appoint two more, you get five)
One graduate student currently sits on the council, although three spots are reserved for graduate students.
Fail again. Those seats are actually designed for Graduate Assembly appointees, who don't have to be graduate students. And they aren't "reserved," as the next paragraph notes:
Graduate Assembly President Joshua Daniels said that since the first two weeks of the year have passed, he can no longer directly nominate candidates to the council but has to ask an ASUC senator or ASUC President Van Nguyen to nominate for him.
He can also ask any other ASUC executive, by the way. Is that three errors?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/26/2007 12:02:00 AM #
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Zouch

Oops...
As for tactics, we can examine events on campus this past week. Yesterday, for example, BCR hosted an event titled "Voices of Terror," where members of the group recited the words of radical terrorist leaders. Many of the quotes chosen were taken out of context and clearly attempted to equate Islam with terrorism. This tactic was mere child's play.

In this piece, we could easily employ the same tactic by printing quotes from David Horowitz and his line-up of this week's extreme speakers. But such a move would merely mimic the same political strategies we find reprehensible.
Such a move was also exactly what happened. While the greenshirts can say "It wasn't us!" so can BCR to almost everything in the op-ed. As far as conclusions about the goal of the event ("to equate Islam with terrorism"), there is nothing to support them, and it reeks of... yes... prejudice.
The racist ideology and terminology promoted by supports of Horowitz failed to produce the organization's anticipated response. Students comically laughed at the sign held up on Sproul Plaza on Monday, which sought to feminize and attack Islam through the figure of the female body labeled as oppressed and abused. Instead of yelling and screaming, they stood together.
There actually was a lot of yelling and screaming at the guy holding a sign up on Sproul Plaza on Monday (who, as far as I know, wasn't part of "the organization.").

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/26/2007 12:01:00 AM #
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Thursday, October 25, 2007
Yay protest

BCR threw their quote-reading event at noon today. They read quotes from people who seemed pretty mean, or something. Of course, folks walking by may not have caught the theme, and just heard some guy from BCR condemning Jews or some such.

The World Can't Wait folks showed up with their orange suits, of course. They also brought out big banners with quotes from the same not-present folks as their posters, and held them behind the quote-reading. Surprisingly, I heard from someone that she thought the quotes were being held up by BCR. I don't think the WCW folks were even hoping for that.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/25/2007 02:21:00 PM #
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Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Last week, and all that

As I mentioned, (correctly, apparently) the ASUC Senate did not appoint a Solicitor General last week, which meant no business for them. They rightly decided that appointing the EVP to the position was silly. They've nominated Noah Johnson for this week, who I know nothing about.

Unlike last year, the ASUC Senate has decided that approval of the minutes is not business, and could occur.

For a week with no business, though, there was a lot of interesting stuff.
Reporting for the Attorney General/Solicitor General Selection Committee, Mr. Jackson said the Committee would like to submit Noah Johnson for the appointment of Solicitor General.

Ms. Winston said she thought there were several nominations. She asked how the Committee decided on this person without having the opportunity to interview applicants.
Um, Roxanne Winston, you know, they haven't interviewed anybody, including folks who applied weeks earlier.

Vishal reported that the planning dudes for the 120th anniversary ASUC spending blowout (or whatever it was called) decided to just set student ticket prices at $30 for 120 students, obviating the need for the bills from last week to subsidize them. They were also first come, first served. Those bills were sent to multiple committees, and while Finance killed it, ConReview passed it. Taylor Allbright and Vishal Gupta agreed that if one committee killed it, it was dead. Taylor was overruled, though, in what I think was a mistake. (Bills are sent to the committees to approve different parts of them. If the Finance Committee does not approve an expenditure, it can't be put on the consent calendar just because ConReview approved the procedural language. Well, I guess it can but it shouldn't be. After all, bills can be revived even if killed, so it's not like the Senate loses the ability to vote on it. Strangely, Gabe Weiner argued the exact opposite, and I didn't find it convincing at all:
But the By-laws do state a fundamental principle of any committee system, that if a bill was passed out of committee, it was reported to the Senate. So the idea was that just because one of the two committees a bill was referred to failed the bill, that therefore it would not go to the Senate, was a little bit absurd, and was outrageous to the principles of multiple committees considering the same bill. Aside from that, something not in the By-laws, but a good principle, would be to have a system where a bill referred to Fi-Comm and Con-Review would have Fi-Comm consider the financial portion of the bill and Con-Review consider the constitutional or procedural implications of the bill. To say that if Fi-Comm would to fail a bill based on financial issues, and then have Con-Review pass it, based on constitutional issues, that the Senate would not even consider the bill, made no sense. He asked what gave a committee that kind of veto power that it didn't have. It didn't work that way with principles of committees. So just for the procedural purpose, they should overrule the Chair.
If it were two seperate bills, for instance, the passage of one in one committee wouldn't demand passage of the other in the other committee. And if both bills were necessary for a goal, then failure of one meant failure of the goal. The fact that the bills are combined doesn't seem to change that at all, and there is far less compelling reason to give a committee the power to overrule another in killing a bill. More ridiculously, had FiComm amended the bill to remove the money, it would be reported out as a bill with no money. Killing the bill, though, makes the money included. So under the interpretation of the Senate, killing the bill would be a less severe blow to the bill than amending it. Scott Silver makes a similar, odd, argument:
It wasn't right if the bill wasn't passed out of committee. The logic didn't make sense to not come to the floor if it failed in one committee, and he would ask why that was more powerful than being passed by another committee.
Would he ask why the passing committee was more powerful than the committee killing it?) It was also, I believe, in violation of the By-Laws, as there is no committee right to have a bill considered by the Senate, only one to have it not considered by killing it. I don't know why the Senate didn't just decide to revive the bill, rather than trying to argue that a bill sent to multiple committees need only be passed out of one of them (as it did).

On Peace not Prejudice Week:
Mr. Shams asked if they were still looking for Coalition members. Ms. Hussain said they definitely were. They've been trying e-mailing back and forth with different organizations. Some were faster to respond than others, but they were open to all organizations on campus regardless of culture, faith, religion, etc.
But not Republicans, apparently.

Do folks find anything disturbing about this from Nad?
Mr. Permaul said he wanted to circle 'round for a moment and remind the Senate that the commercial development of Lower Sproul was a feature that came out of the preliminary planning process last year, with student focus groups, for the development of Sproul. It followed the same pattern that students used to develop the Recreational Sports Facility. Mr. Permaul said that when he first started his career at the University, he worked at Rec Sports and managed the facilities. The goal was to persuade students that there was, in fact, a need for something like the Rec Sports Facility, and to show them how it could be accomplished. So the goal was to bring students into the RSF's programs. They scheduled basketball games until 4 a.m. and they had softball games running until 2 a.m. They had all kinds of activities and events that were associated with Rec Sports. And shortly thereafter, the students held a referendum which resulted in the construction of the RSF. And as they know, the RSF was jam-packed every day, and students recently voted to support it more, in a referendum two years ago. Similarly, this is how the Student Union complex was built. The students gathered themselves together because the old Eshleman, the old Stephens Union, was outdated. They put together a program to persuade the campus and the students that it was time to fund a brand new construction of the Student Union complex. And they built this complex in 1959-60.
It sounds a lot like "Students are too dumb to know what they want, so we're going to overschedule, overpack, and unnecessarily use spaces that aren't adequate in order to make folks uncomfortable enough so they'll agree with us. It's important for us to convince our constituents to do what we, their elected representatives, say." Something feels a bit backwards about it.

The Senate appointed Minna Howell as Director of Financial Aid/Residency Division, but they did it before looking at the Solicitor General appointment (which failed anyway), so it wasn't valid. This is at least the second time Taylor is going to have to send out an "Oops, we didn't really appoint you... Sorry!" e-mail.

Gabe Weiner made motions towards reining in the Executives, which currently have very little Senate oversight in terms of what they spend their money on. For instance, in this case, Van Nguyen is using ASUC President resources to campaign to abolish the SAT II as an admissions requirement, and Weiner argues that authority with using ASUC resources to support external campaigns lies with the Senate. Van argues that his powers are so broad that he can do basically what he wants. ("His interpretation was to make sure the ASUC functioned. In his opinion, for the health and well-being of the student body, a critical aspect was the accessibility to the University." But reading the "health and well-being" clause like that basically means "blank check.")
Ms. Allbright said she would like to make an appointment and appoint Vice Chair Shaleen Shanbhag to the non-voting Student-at-large position on the University and External Affairs Committee. Ms. Allbright said that she felt that as a member of the Senate, as Vice Chair, this position would increase her ability to better serve the Senators if she was a non-voting member of a committee.
I dunno... it seems that one of the purposes of "students-at-large" would be to have people outside of the small group which runs the ASUC involved.

Apparently, Yaman Salahi is going to be the ASUC Webmaster. I'm not sure who is in charge of content yet, so I don't know who to complain to about the fact that the ASUC introduces itself by lying to students that they are not members of the ASUC. Maybe Taylor. I'll see.

Danny Montes is going to pimp the UCSA this week.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/23/2007 06:14:00 PM #
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Other excellent commentary

Finally, an excellent comment from some guy on some blog on David Horowitz:
Horowitz was an interesting person 20 years ago. At this point, he's making a career out of "controversy", and is essentially a professional troll.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/23/2007 03:30:00 PM #
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Some coverage of IFAW

Andrew Marcus, with a group of folks calling themselves "Incorrect U," has a video covering some stuff from yesterday. They aren't, as far as I know, directly affiliated with BCR, and a quick look through their site suggests they're the type of folks that BCR was trying hard not to be for IFAW.

Crazy-guy-with-a-sign, mentioned first, is referred to as a "participant," though, as far as I know, he has no affiliation with IFAW. I think he's the crazy guy who occasionally shows up condemning gays to hell. He seems pretty popular with the Incorrect U folks, though, so I think they just enjoy seeing liberals pissed off.

Yaman Salahi makes an unnamed appearance as "Some guy organizing against IFAW with SJP."

Nonie Darwish accuses Muslim student organizations of trying to spread radical Islam in America, and being backed by the Saudis.

It looks like the quote below from some disruptor saying that Darwish was "racist filth" was wrong. It sounds a lot more like he's saying she's communicating "racist filth" (I couldn't tell the word he used, but the sentence structure makes it impossible to be as quoted).

One guy is bitching about how some other guy was being arrested, although it seemed pretty clear that it wasn't the case. Do people think being detained/questioned by police equals being arrested? (My understanding was that the dude was not, in the end, arrested.)

The piece ends with some more "I know you are but what am I"ism.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/23/2007 03:04:00 PM #
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Sometime in the future

I've heard rumors that the ASUC failed to appoint a Solicitor General last week, which meant no business. I'll see when the minutes come out. They do have Elections Council Chair and Solicitor General nominees to consider, though, so if they both pass, they can do business this week.

A Resolution Affirming the U.S.—Israel Relationship: Written/Sponsored by the Jewish Caucus (Scott Silver and Gabe Weiner), it's a resolution to say "Yep, we still agree with U.S.-Israel relations!" And, of course, tell Barbara Lee, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, and George Bush, because they need to know where the ASUC stands on the issue.

A Resolution Shouting "GO BEARS!": Oh, man... aren't you guys embarrassed? This is what we pay $55 a year for. At least Jason Louie isn't a sponsor.

A Bill in Support of Effective Statewide Advocacy: Much better. Christian Osmeña and Gabe Weiner are pushing a bill to reconsider the ASUC's relationship with the UCSA. (See here and other links for my opinion) It actually just asks the Senate to make a committee to talk about it and give a report, so we'll see if anything comes of it (or if CalSERVE succeeds in killing it).

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/23/2007 02:49:00 PM #
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Today's IFAW comment of note:

The woman who felt it was hypocritical of Republicans to call stoning to death an adulterer a human rights violation when they support capital punishment for murder. This person also felt that those Republicans do not consider lynching a black man to be a capital offense. And was wearing a "Peace not Prejudice" shirt.

In other news, the "Peace not Prejudice" folks were allowed to hang a banner from the trees on Sproul. I'm suddenly curious why we have a rule prohibiting it in the first place, and what standards must be met in order to get an exception.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/23/2007 02:19:00 PM #
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Monday, October 22, 2007
Chilling

It appears the disruptions were in good supply at the Nonie Darwish event. But it's the leftists who have to worry about their speech being chilled.

What I've found most unbelievable about this week is that folks pretend that it matters. As if, had Darwish's talk occurred without disruption, we'd all run out and start shooting Muslims or something. It's an argument that goes both ways ("Oh, really? Islamic terrorists? I wasn't aware..."), but the folks putting it on at least aren't very subtle about the fact that it's almost pure baiting. The people responding have to know that the event is there to make them look bad and invigorate the conservative base, don't they?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/22/2007 11:12:00 PM #
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Stuff

Megan is liveblogging the Nonie Darwish talk. So far, it doesn't look that good. Well, nobody has pointed out that Osama works at a 7-11 yet...

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/22/2007 07:27:00 PM #
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Whee

I saw a bunch of these posters all over campus on Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. It's mostly "I know you are, but what am I?" stuff. For folks opposed to using events and language to demonize and isolate large groups of people, they sure don't hesitate to call everyone who supports it a reactionary racist fascist. Oh, and dangerous. It's actually sort of sad, because most of what they complain about is barely applicable here at Cal.

After complaining about the women's studies department sit-in (not happening here), they complain about promotion of Christianity (not that I've heard of), Bush (not the most popular fellow in Berkeley College Republicans), and the chill in academia for liberal professors (HAHAHA!). They then condemn organizers for bringing folks out to speak like David Horowitz (not here), Rick Santorum (nope), Michael Ledeen (sorry, try again), and Ann Counter (0 for 4).

In other news, the ASUC took out a full page ad in the Daily Cal (with our money) promoting the "Peace, not Prejudice" event, which is a response, even if not billed as such, sponsored by every group and their mom. Ironically, due to their prejudice, supporters did not approach BCR to co-sponsor (which it probably would have agreed to do).

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/22/2007 04:18:00 PM #
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Finally!

After a long time deprived of a vital resource, we're finally going to get that East Asian library we so desperately need.
The library will house over 900,000 volumes as well as artifacts and historical pieces ranging from "the earliest bone scratchings to the most recently updated digital version of Godzilla," said UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau.
I'm sure the Japanese are very proud.
Tom Leonard, university librarian, said that in a research university, students require "countless hours in either the library, the lab or both."

"The Starr library will provide a flowing space with many places for contemplation," he said.
Flowing space? I'm imagining a conveyor belt, or maybe a knee-high stream. It's like wine-tasting... the adjectives make no sense at all.
To close the ceremony, the new library's director, Peter Zhou, invited Chancellor Birgeneau to cut the ribbon to commence a tour of the library. Though festivities came to a momentary halt as Birgeneau unknowingly blocked two Chinese dancing lions from entering the building, the eager crowd eventually made its way into the new library to view the facilities.
Yeah, that happens a lot when doing academic research.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/22/2007 12:29:00 AM #
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Saturday, October 20, 2007
Other UCSA news

Be sure to check out the UCSA website. See the giant banner on the top? It misstates the name of the organization. This is, by the way, a $10,000 website.

At the time of this post, the top headline is "Students Tell Governor to Sign SB 1." That's the DREAM Act, for those of you who don't memorize California bill names. The failed, vetoed DREAM Act, for those of you who don't follow California bills. So yes, the UCSA website currently boldly advertises the fact that it fails at its goals.

If you'd like to know more about UC Davis's relationship to the UCSA, be sure to check out this report by Brent Laabs, former UCSA Chair and current UCD GSA (the graduate student government at Davis) External Chair. It was prepared before the GSA left the UCSA, and has a great deal of criticism that is applicable to all student governments currently shoving barrels of money UCSA's way. (If you don't want to read the whole thing, just read the "Executive Summary" and the "Discussion." "Fiscal Analysis," "Internal Structure of UCSA," and "Public Image" are pretty interesting, as well.) Some highlights (emphasis mine):

On the obsession with a "unified voice" that Danny Montes demands:
Do ASUCD and UCD GSA have a moral obligation to participate in UCSA?

In some sense, yes – we should stand in solidarity with other students. However, when UCSA does such a poor job of representing the students they represent, then we cannot justify remaining in the organization. ASUCD and UCD GSA have tried to fix it for eight years running – how long is too long? Instead, we can better serve all students by developing a new vision here in Davis, implementing it, and achieving goals which truly affect students lives.
On UCSA fees:
UCSA's fee increases seem to echo the rate of fee increases imposed by the Regents on both graduate students and undergrads. For an organization that has stood against fee increases on the grounds that it prevents access to education, this behavior seems questionable. Perhaps it can be argued that these fee increases are an investment in an organization to prevent future fee increases. However, as fee increases continue (with the notable exception of the 2006 election year fee freeze, a "UCSA victory"), it becomes clear that UCSA hasn't been able to stop fee increases.

However, UCSA is in better financial shape than it ever has been, in terms of income. Some schools choose to contribute over the minimum amount of dues to UCSA. Notable among these are UCLA and UCSB, who appear to get more attention and influence as a result of their contributions. Undergraduates at Santa Barbara contribute more than seven dollars per student per year to UCSA – this was passed in a $100 per quarter fee referendum for AS UCSB in 2006. Fee referenda have been the route to stability for UCSA, so its staff will volunteer to help organize a fee referendum for UCSA on your campus. This is perhaps the most disturbing aspect of UCSA's new philosophy; UCSA hasn't been able to stop large fee increases in the UC system, but is more than willing to increase fees to itself.
On bubbles:
[D]ebate is not truly welcome at UCSA. Expressing opposing opinions is tantamount to heresy in some circumstances. During officer elections at the end of Congress 2007, one candidate running for an office unopposed was asked to leave the room so the Board could debate. One Board member spoke that the candidate had made one of his delegation uncomfortable, so he couldn't vote for the candidate. He was finally persuaded to divulge the reason the delegate was uncomfortable: the candidate had said that Congress was "too focused on ethnic/cultural and LGBT issues." As someone who agrees with this sentiment, I find it hard to understand why this was so inflammatory that it had to be told to everyone behind the candidate's back.
On changing the admission policy:
Additionally, when I spoke with the UC Regents, I stated that changing admission policy was not the best or most ethical way to improve diversity on campuses. I spoke about how eliminating NRT [Non-Resident Tuition], improving K-12 education, and funding student-initiated outreach programs would help solve the underlying problems of maintaining diversity. This was a prime reason that I was removed from office, as it angered many board members, particularly from UCLA. But there had never been a debate in UCSA about why they have the values they do. Certainly, we in ASUCD and UCD GSA support the access, affordability, and quality of UC education, but what we mean by that is the subject of ongoing debate. UCSA never has that debate. Congress amounts to an "indoctrination", according to some of the members of UCD GSA's delegation in 2007.
Anyway, I encourage folks to take a look. I especially encourage our own ASUC elected officials to take a look and consider whether the students of Berkeley are really best served by forking $31,029.90 to the UCSA this year (number from the budget), rather than spending it on direct, potentially more effective lobbying, or on student groups (both of which the UC Davis undergrad association did). "That's what we've always done!" is not an excuse, nor is it even accurate.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/20/2007 11:36:00 PM #
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Friday, October 19, 2007
But they're so representative!

The Davis graduate student government sent a press release explaining their departure from the UCSA. I've republished it in full at Beetle Beat Extended.
The emphasis on the politics of protest in UCSA has been counterproductive, and a more balanced approach to lobbying will be of vital importance to UC students in the coming years.

While UCD GSA would have preferred to have worked in solidarity with UCSA on this, it has become apparent that the UCSA organization is too rigid to change. Those who express opinions contrary to the assumed values of the organization, both from Davis and from other campuses, are subject to retaliation. Rather than providing a chance to develop a shared vision, those who go to UCSA Congress are instead inducted into the UCSA vision.
Consider Danny Montes's comments on the UCSA, and see if you can figure out where this feeling comes from.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/19/2007 07:26:00 PM #
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Correction watch

Let's see how long it take for the Daily Cal to correct this. They didn't correct it today.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/19/2007 12:12:00 PM #
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Clever

More of that false journalistic neutrality that Becky O'Malley is so proud of:
Organized by KSFO radio personality Melanie Morgan, chair of Move America Forward, pro-war, anti-Islamic and anti-immigration demonstrators converged on the Berkeley Recruiting Center Wednesday, caravaning into town with their SUVs and Harleys decked out in American flags to face off with Code Pink, the anti-war group that has held vigils in front of the 64 Shattuck Square Marine Recruitment Office for three weeks.
Anti-Islamic, you say? Are you sure they aren't more in the anti-Muslims-who-want-to-kill-us vein? The protester they quote seems to take that approach. And they don't quote one of those anti-immigrant folks, so you can't really tell if they mean anti-illegal-immigrant.
Judy Christopher of Code Pink had brought her baby to the demonstration. "As a mother, I don't want my son to grow up to kill people," she said.
Instead, I'm going to use him as a political tool.

Ilona Sturm had this to add:
Today's passion and divided Shattuck pushed the ante up. It brought out people from their slumber. No one on either side wants anyone to die. In this, we are united. But the patriots don't have much say beyond their rhetoric, indignation, and insults.

Code Pink is doing Berkeley a great honor by focusing our energies on the recruiting center and creating greater passion and urgency around something that is a life and death issue; for the Iraqis, for the servicewomen and men, and for you and me.
Yes, Code Pink has so much more to offer than just rhetoric, indignation, and insults. Did I mention the Code Pink folks calling their counter protesters killers?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/19/2007 10:57:00 AM #
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Thursday, October 18, 2007
Oh, noes! Errors!

Shocking! Some errors about the Judicial Council openings:
Three of the spots on the council are filled by nominations from Graduate Assembly President Joshua Daniels. All three of those spots are currently open.
Sikina Jinnah was a Josh Daniels appointment, and, as far as I can tell, is still on the Judicial Council. So only two of those spots are currently open. Further, since it's been so long since folks have resigned, the right of nomination is in the hands of the ASUC President now, in accordance with the Constitutional amendment the GA passed a few years back. I'm not surprised no one has noticed, though, since no one actually updated the Constitution to reflect it. I also wouldn't be surprised if no ASUC officer has even noticed.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/18/2007 12:02:00 AM #
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Casual solidarity

Query:
Zook said that the military government of Myanmar, colloquially referred to as Burma, violently shut down pro-democracy protests made famous by the scores of robed monks who marched the streets of the largest city in the country.

Zook has been to Myanmar several times and specializes in Southeast Asian politics. In solidarity with the monks’ cause he used the name Burma rather than Myanmar, which is used by the military junta currently in power, throughout the lecture.
Is the word "colloquially" used appropriately here? It seems there's a lot more to calling it Burma than just a use in conversation or a lack of formality.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/18/2007 12:01:00 AM #
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Don't look

Whatever you do, don't look at the illustration associated with this story on angry protesters who are angry about angrifying things which make them angry. There's a military recruitment office in Berkeley. Oh noes! (response from the recruiter here)
"It's very unfortunate that they opened a recruitment office in Berkeley," said City Councilmember Linda Maio. "I don't think it's appropriate for this town. I don't think it reflects the sentiments of the citizens."
Yeah, man. If it doesn't reflect our sentiments, it should get the fuck out of town. We're tolerant like that.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/17/2007 12:01:00 AM #
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Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Last week, on ASUC

Kiira Johal, Joseph Guzman, and Reuben Duarte were nominated for the Judicial Council. Recall that they only have four members now, and one of them is ending her term pretty soon. Josh Daniels tried to nominate Kiesha Oliver to one of the open GA positions, but I think he needs three for it. It turns out that, because he's taken so long, the right of nomination for the GA seats got put in the hands of the ASUC President. And since Van Nguyen's taken so long, I think it's in the hands of the Senate. I don't know anything about these people, by the way, and I don't see their appointments on the agenda for this week.
Mr. Louie said he wanted to address the length of time Senate meetings have been. He felt they've been doing a great job not silencing anyone's voices. However, he did not think it was feasible for their meetings to last until 3:00 or almost 4:00 in the morning. He thought as Senators, they should all respect the discussions and decisions that happen in committees and respect each other's health and well-being, and of course respect Mr. Litwak. So Mr. Louie said he would urge all Senators to be as efficient as possible at meetings, especially with recesses and their length. He felt that the more time Senators spent at Senate meetings, the less time they had being out with their constituencies.
You heard him! Efficiency! Oh, wait, there's something else...
Also, he wanted to say "Go Bears!"
Um.... dude... after your speech on efficiency... nevermind.

The ASUC approved finding (and possibly paying) a co-op rep. Interesting exchange:
Mr. Kunert asked what philanthropy events were coming up that were directly involved with the campus, and how the ASUC would be involved. A speaker said a lot of confusion he saw was that there was very little understanding of exactly what the co-ops were. Their community works with community, neighbor, and University relations. They worked with the City to open an auditorium in one of the houses. They don't really do philanthropy and instead, do community service. The ASUC and the co-ops both want to serve students, and having this liaison position whole help both of them do their jobs better....

Mr. Kunert said he understood wanting to get involved on campus, but asked why that would require an ASUC liaison. Also, he didn't hear of any specific events for the future other than to unite and serve students. Ms. Coleman said they've been underrepresented in the ASUC and the External Affairs Committee helped her get elected. They wanted a liaison to establish better communications, bring events to campus, and to get more people involved.
Well, I guess I'll just say I'm unconvinced.

When unappointing Ross Lingenfelder, they didn't really address the question of whether they could legally do so. Much of the discussion was outside of the minutes, so there's not much to say. The discussion afterwards suggests that folks were concerned about the ability to "recall" the Solicitor General (there's no explicit procedure for it).
Mr. Shams said he was concerned about Mr. Lingnfelder's role as President of the BCR. It seemed like a conflict of interest that would be of concern around election time. He thought Sen. Jackson's solution, appointing a Senator, was workable.
Yeah, man. When it comes to people who don't have vested interests in political parties, current Senators are the way to go. Admittedly, the actual plan is to appoint someone who won't do the job, and then have that person resign when they find someone who would do the job but isn't scary.

So, what do you think the vote was on this appointment which initially passed "unanimously by voice vote with no debate"? 14-0-3? 8-1-5? Try 1-14-1. Zouch. I'm really curious what scared so many Senators off, now.

The committee to go lawyer hunting ended up with Taylor Allbright and Curtis Lee as executives (and not Van). It had 2 SA senators, 2 CalSERVE senators, and Shams.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/16/2007 05:33:00 PM #
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Agendas!

Looking over the ASUC agenda packet, I don't see an Elections Council Chair appointment. Tomorrow was the deadline.

There's also a request for $1500 for the 2nd annual "Indigenous People's Night of Resistance." After the night, I guess they go back to letting themselves be subjugated or something.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/16/2007 10:54:00 AM #
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DREAAAAAM

Aww, we didn't get the DREAM Act passed. After all those letters, too...
"It's about the California dream and for the government to go and veto it like this... is really, really frustrating," said UC Student Association President Oiyan Poon. "It just shows that he doesn't seem very sincere about public access to higher education and equal opportunity."
Note how illegal immigration is part of the California dream now. Not that it's wrong... Maybe Arnie is only sincere about public access to higher education and equal opportunity for those here legally. In fact, such sincere commitment would have required him to veto this.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/16/2007 12:03:00 AM #
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Crazy Guy Awareness Week

Some week is Mental Health Awareness Week. In case you didn't notice, some of us have mental health. Now you're aware. Yay! (In fairness, if I was being followed around by a raincloud, I might be feeling a bit down, too... I think that's consistent with good mental health, though.)

Actually Mental Health Awareness Week is about folks who lack mental health. I guess it's to say "neener neener neener, we have mental health and you don't!" or something. Just like how Vision Awareness Week is for the blind, or how Clear Skies Awareness Week celebrates Los Angeles.
Have you ever attempted to talk to a friend about a problem, but stopped for fear of burdening them?
If so, thank you!

Good luck, crazy guys! This is your week to decrazify!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/16/2007 12:02:00 AM #
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Summary

I think this editorial is summed up more or less by the start:
We live in a nation where political correctness has undoubtedly affected the way we act and speak. Often, people do not say what's on their minds for fear of appearing prejudiced. These restrictions stifle our speech, and many times we miss out on constructive discussion due to apprehension of exhibiting any impropriety.

But there is a reason why these lines exist.
Yeah...
The upcoming Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, hosted by the Berkeley College Republicans, demonstrates why there are certain boundaries that need to be respected and the dangers that result when they are not.
Oh, well, let's read on about those dangers. I'm going to do my best not to go out and lynch Muslims after the events (which I probably won't be attending), but you never know about the rest of these folks...
The most glaring indication that the program has a sinister motive is in the name itself. By branding the week as "Islamo-Fascism," it immediately sets up a charged atmosphere targeting a group of people based on race and religion.
Would that be the Islamic race? Or is it the Fascist race? Well, don't just sit there criticizing. Come up with a better brand for it.
Many innocent people, targeted because of their jobs, sexual orientation and other miscellaneous reasons, became victims in the infamous witch hunt led by Senator Joseph McCarthy. Islamo-fascism week feeds that same fear, the fear of an unknown or misunderstood entity.
Are you a Muslim employed at Cal? You're going to get fired!!! The Daily Cal is a bunch of fear-mongering bigots, I say.
The fear that gripped this country during the '50s has now transformed into a fear of a racial group who practices a peaceful religion.
I don't mean to split hairs, but not all of these folks are practicing peaceful religion. Some people might just be scared of the murdering type.
Already, there are dozens of Web sites promoting the event; one urges "Americans" to mark their calendars and learn about "Islam and their quest for world domination ... Learn what the Religion of Peace does not want you to know about their agenda to dominate the world much like Adolf Hitler desired before starting World War II."
Didn't your 4th grade teacher teach you to cite your sources? This guy? I'm not exactly sure that's representative of... well... anything. If we're just picking random fellows off the internet, then shouldn't we, in the name of balance, quote other random dudes? (and come on... two seconds after crying "Islamo-Fascist Awareness Week is the new McCarthyism!" you're going to criticize this?)
There are many politically conservative professors on campus who may share the same view as Horowitz and the host of guest speakers, but are willing to discuss their beliefs in a more academic and candid environment.
I've only heard of one guest speaker so far (Nonie Darwish), and she's apparently a liar (or so the Daily Cal seems to say. I don't know anything about her). I'm genuinely curious about who this host of speakers are going to be.

But can we honestly expect that such a conservative professor can give a talk on such topics when Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week has been so solidly condemned before it has even begun to be widely publicized? Can someone talk about "terrorism by Muslims seeking religiously motivated political goals which are incompatible with our democracy" (or whatever the appropriate description would be) without being condemned for it? ("In this country, ignorance and the media have helped maintain the stereotype that a terrorist is Muslim, looks a certain way and is from a certain region.") Would it really have mattered if they called it something else? Was there any way they could have talked about the issue without triggering this backlash?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/16/2007 12:01:00 AM #
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Monday, October 15, 2007
Other people are confusing

Continuing our series of "failing to understand other viewpoints," Chron editorial writer Caille Miller writes a piece which seems to be a bit questionable.

The punchline is that health care isn't a consumer good, and shouldn't be described with consumer language. (consumer choice, etc.) Why?
If this still doesn't sound foolish to you, consider this: How many "choices" do you really want when you're sick? How "free" does the thought of illness make you feel? Would it make you feel like you're "in the driver's seat" to have the "choice" to reject certain "options" because they cost more than you could afford?
It's much better if the government rejects certain options because they cost more than it can afford.
Illness does not "empower" people to make "choices." It does not result in the desire to "negotiate" your health care "options." The only thing the average ill human being wishes to "negotiate" is how quickly her treatment can begin.
In the parallel universe which Miller inhabits, where there is only one treatment option for every ailment which has no drawbacks at all, and living with illness is not a choice, this might make sense. But even though I've never been seriously ill, I'm aware of the reality that sometimes, treatment options are just that: options. Treatments often have costs that go beyond dollars. Some people may want to live with the illness rather than deal with the consequences of treatment. Some options may be less effective but more livable. Even in the realm of dollars, decisions as to what a person can afford may be best left to an individual, who may be willing to make monetary sacrifices that the government as a whole cannot do. There is not some single "happiness scale" where everyone values exactly the same things in life.

So no, I guess I don't really see how health care is all that different from a consumer good.
Unfortunately, the desire to have an illness cured is not the same as the desire to have cupholders and leather upholstery in the latest model of your Toyota, or the desire to watch a football game on a larger screen. The first has everything to do with being able to continue the quest for personal freedom, and the last two have everything to do with distracting yourself from the difficulty of achieving personal freedom with toys and trinkets.
What a pathetic, useless personal freedom it is, then, if you aren't allowed to use it to value petty, trivial distractions which make you happy. Is it just not okay to use that freedom to make your life better?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/15/2007 05:52:00 PM #
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Unintelligence Intelligible

Keep going, Scott Lucas. He finds the idea that someone could be opposed to gay marriage to be unintelligible. I think he may have spent a bit too much time in the echo chamber (your college education apparently doesn't train you all that much).

The structure is this:

Some argument from anti-gay marriage dudes;
Some argument why those arguments are wrong.

To Lucas, the fact that an argument against it can be made means that it's unintelligible. Using this logic, by the way, gay marriage makes no sense.
So maybe the real argument is that marriage is defined on the basis of child-rearing. Maybe a mixed-sex couple provides the most stable foundation for raising children, which is why marriage is restricted to them. But that's factually inaccurate on three counts. First, there's no compelling evidence for the truth of the statement.
Yes, that's why it's an "argument." The fact that Lucas doesn't think they have compelling evidence does not make their position unintelligible.
Second, that's an inept description of how the institution of marriage actually functions. We don't ask for fertility tests before people can marry, nor do we prevent unstable people from marrying and reproducing. Hell, Britney did it.
Lucas also supports lowering the voting age to 0, because we don't prevent uninformed people from voting. Or does he? Anything else would be... unintelligible.
I suppose all we're left with is the religious or moral objection. Some churches frown on homosexuality. Well, rock on. I'm not here to tell any faith how to do its job. But, conversely, religion ought not to tell democracy how to do its job.
I'm not here to tell your religion how to do its job. Your religion should do what I say. Hmm... that sounds almost... unintelligible.

Update: The Dangierre Blog, which I've subtly added to my blogroll, has more

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/15/2007 01:16:00 PM #
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An epidemic!

Signboards! Using the SJP logic of "it didn't happen to everyone, so it must be targeted," the Cal Fishing Club has been the target of a hate crime. I blame the fish, and their irrational hatred for humans. We call that racism.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/15/2007 01:13:00 PM #
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Don't forget the rest of the headline

Ummm... "Mayor Travels to England for Tips on Green Cities..." in an era of near-perfect telecommunication. How much more could you possibly learn by being physically present there? Well, at least flying doesn't hurt the environment.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/15/2007 01:10:00 PM #
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Sunday, October 14, 2007
You mean the ASUC resolution didn't work?

Somehow, despite the ASUC's passage of a bill in support of the DREAM Act, it got vetoed.
The bill to make college financial aid available to illegal immigrant students was SB1, authored by Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles. Proponents of the so-called California Dream Act said the state should not waste talent coming out of its high schools.

But Schwarzenegger, in his message to the Senate, said the state could not afford to subsidize such aid to illegal immigrants at a time when colleges are "raising fees on all students attending college in order to maintain the quality of education provided."
Which side was the UCSA on? The one in favor of increased fees, of course. And yet somehow, their fee-reduction efforts don't seem successful...

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/14/2007 04:53:00 PM #
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Saturday, October 13, 2007
Which holiday was this?

Examine this picture.

1) Those kids don't seem all that excited about Al Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize for not actually accomplishing stuff. Welco Me indeed.

2) Why do they have the day off? What holiday was it yesterday? I certainly hope they weren't pulled out of school specifically so they could be stashed by a dumpster for use as publicity tools, though that would be an awesome metaphor for much of what's wrong with schooling today.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/13/2007 05:49:00 PM #
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Louder, please

Judging by the screams, LSU lost today. While folks were screaming "we're number 1," I would think Cal would need to beat Oregon State (a game they don't exactly have in the bag), first. Oh, the look on those folks' faces if Cal lost today... Or if Ohio State gets the number 1 spot, which also seems likely.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/13/2007 05:45:00 PM #
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Friday, October 12, 2007
Weering!

Oh, it gets funnier and funnier. The AGSC could not find another nominee after Ross Lingenfelder got rejected. The Senate then decided to nominate Taylor Allbright for the position of Solicitor General. It looks like Alex Kozak is going to be all alone again.
Some senators registered fears that Lingenfelder would be biased because of his position as president of the Berkeley College Republicans.

"My only consideration is the role Mr. Lingenfelder has in BCR. It seems like a pseudo-conflict of interest, especially around election time," said Independent Senator Nadir Shams.

Lingenfelder was not present at the reconsideration but said he had previously given senators the opportunity to ask him questions about his involvement with BCR and had not received any.
The Senate does not look all that good with this. I showed up expecting to watch that discussion, and didn't realize that folks would be too cowardly to actually say what they believe until they had to.
SQUELCH! Senator Gabe Weiner first suggested that the senate appoint a "random person" who would hold the place of solicitor general and resign when a suitable replacement was found, but other senators objected on the grounds that the person could grow to enjoy the position.
Oh, God, not Daily Cal reporting! That isn't itself really grounds for an objection, is it?

This seems to really miss the point of having an enforced deadline like this. There is a procedure for "placeholder" Solicitors General, and the EVP appoints them (and should have this week). That means that the By-Laws really want a legitimate Solicitor General in place by this time or business stops.
The senate considered nominating either a senator or an executive to hold the place of solicitor general and nominated Executive Vice President Taylor Allbright to the position.
I think this is kind of missing the point of a Solicitor General.
"My primary concern was that I didn't want work to stop (in the senate)," said Student Action Senator Corey Jackson, who chairs the committee.
Corey Jackson is putting forward this concern? The AGSC hadn't even received any applications before their first deadline because they waited so long to put them out. It didn't bother to interview candidates, or even tell them they were nominated, and still only nominated someone at the last possible second. All of a sudden, the chair is concerned about delays?
Senators also discussed the possibility of amending the bylaws in the future to eliminate the position of solicitor general, who serves under the attorney general.
Strictly speaking, this isn't quite correct. The Solicitor General assists the Attorney General with his duties, but that doesn't mean he has to listen to the AG or anything.

As far as where to go from here, Ross has a pretty legitimate case that his nomination was undone illegally. If he sued in the Judicial Council, and got injunction preventing the unappointment, he could even represent both sides of the case.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/12/2007 07:51:00 AM #
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Booooring

The Daily Cal misses another awesome opportunity to flex those journalism skills. Instead, they issue another boring opinion about whether or not to protest the potential Republican Presidential Debate on campus, as if protesters were just sitting around waiting for the Daily Cal to tell them what to do. They completely avoid the far more interesting issue of whether the university should be sabotaging efforts to bring the event to campus, where they could do some of that investigative reporting that journalists are supposed to do (or so I hear).

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/12/2007 12:01:00 AM #
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Thursday, October 11, 2007
Heads embiggened

Speaking of the ASUC, check out this quote from our website:
The Associated Students of the University of California are the elected representatives of the UC Berkeley student body.
Um, no. Seriously. What the fuck is wrong with these people? Yes, we know our elected officials like to think of themselves as the ASUC, but the fact is that every Cal student is a member of the ASUC... sort of. Membership definitions are unconstitutional right now. Still, any Cal student is eligible to call herself a member.
As the collective voice of the students, we build student power through leadership development and opportunities for empowerment.
Whenever someone mentions the ASUC official apparatus as the "voice of the students," remember that our turnout is somewhere around a third. A huge majority of students don't vote for ASUC officials.
Each spring, the UC Berkeley student body elects 25 ASUC officials: the 5 ASUC executive officers and the 20-member Senate. The five executives are the President, Executive Vice President, External Affairs Vice President, Academic Affairs Vice President and Student Advocate. Other, non-elected
components of the ASUC include the Judicial Council, the Graduate Assembly and SUPERB.
Haha! They went ahead and said it! The Graduate Assembly is indeed unelected, but usually officials lack the balls to point it out.
We are a member of the University of California Student Association (UCSA), the coalition of student governments from all UCcampuses.
Also no. UC Davis student governments are not part of the UCSA anymore. It looks like a radical redefinition of the word "all" is in order.
Founded in 1887, the ASUC is a non-profit organization, autonomous from the University. The ASUC is funded by a $55/year mandatory student fee...
Autonomous also requires redefinition, it seems. Not only does this autonomous organization rely on the University to coerce fees from students, it can be dissolved at the whim of the Chancellor of the University campus. Yay for quasi-autonomy!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/11/2007 11:05:00 PM #
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Ha! You lose, Senate

So, as I mentioned, Ross Lingenfelder did not have a 2/3 majority to get the appointment to Solicitor General, but because it was a voice vote, nobody counted.

Later on, a motion to reconsider was made and passed by unanimous consent. After a bunch of discussion, his appointment failed, as I knew it would.

So yes, it turns out that the motion which passed by voice vote without any debate at all required a bunch of debate and failed once people actually had to take responsibility for their actions. I hope this serves as a reminder that these are not just technicalities.

As to whether a motion to reconsider an appointment is legal... another excellent question. I'm inclined to say that it isn't. Once an appointment is made, can it be unmade? Or does it not take effect until after the meeting finishes? I believe the answer to both questions is no. (Also, Ross wasn't there anymore to be part of that debate)

In other news, this probably means that the Senate is unable to conduct business until they appoint a Solicitor General. It also means Taylor Allbright should have appointed an interim Solicitor General. I'll see if I can find out if this was done.

(In further other news, next week is the deadline for appointing an Elections Council Chair)

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/11/2007 10:05:00 PM #
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Horror!

We're getting free stuff and short-term, interest-free loans? Someone protect us from this! I recall that Nad Permaul had something to say about this article being inaccurate, but I forgot what it was.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/11/2007 12:46:00 PM #
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Er...

Weren't we trying to get rid of the SAT Is because they didn't add any predictive power to the SAT IIs? Now we're getting rid of the SAT IIs, I guess. Eventually, we will reach the racial quota lottery system we've all been pushing for.
"UC has a long experience with all aspects of the admissions process, and one thing that is consistently observed is that performance on elective subject tests don’t add a lot of predictive power to regression models of how students will actually do when they come to UC," said Mark Rashid, chair of the board and professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Davis.
Oh, come on. This is a professor. You can't use a conclusion like this on a selected sample. If you use the SAT II to determine who gets into UC, you can't then use it as a predictor among those folks who got into UC.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/11/2007 12:25:00 AM #
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Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Yay, Senate

Updated and bumped: I'm told they're reconsidering. Last I heard they were meeting as a committee of the whole, though that was a while ago.

So I just got back from part of the ASUC Senate meeting. Ross Lingenfelder was appointed Solicitor General illegally. I watched carefully and noticed no "ayes" from CalSERVE, and two senators were absent, and I believe there were other folks who didn't approve, so there was no way he got the 14 votes he needed. Let's review some facts about the Attorney General/Solicitor General Search:

There was no acknowledgment of receiving applications.

There were no interviews.

There was no official notice from the selection committee to the nominees. Ross was nominated last week, but only heard about it this Monday because I told him, after I just happened to hear it from Chad Kunert. It wouldn't have been hugely surprising if they had nominated someone and that person just never heard about it, and missed her own appointment hearing.

The Solicitor General was nominated at the last possible time, meaning the Senate had no choice but to approve him or else they'd have to stop all business. Since Taylor Allbright just noted his approval through the voice vote, CalSERVE got to get away with not voting for him without having to suffer the consequences, which is simply not the way the Senate should work. A number of Senators were also aware of the issue, and said nothing. Bravo.

As far as actual action is concerned, I'm not sure there's a basis for it, as the chair can rule on voice votes, and if the Senate is complicit, there's no requirement for those rulings to be accurate. Still, I think it really calls into question the validity of every single 2/3 voice vote the Senate makes, if the EVP only is comparing "ayes" and "nays," rather than "ayes" and anything else (including silence), which is her job.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/10/2007 11:30:00 PM #
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. . .
Finally

One more detail. Berkeley College Republicans had a special order today to talk about Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. Andrew Quinio, former editor-in-chief for the California Patriot and the coordinator for the week, openly called Nadir Shams a liar, which the ASUC Senate needs more of.

Quinio asked senators if they knew what events were going to be put on, or the "stance and manner" of the event (which is condemned in a Senate bill for next week). Shams was the only one who raised his hand, and Quinio called him a liar, because, I guess, the events hadn't been set until this morning, and it was the first time the event had been openly advertised (i.e. there was no previous "stance and manner" for Shams to know about in order to condemn it).

Daniel Galeon then demonstrated everything that was wrong with the Senate by asking if it was appropriate to "single out" a senator like that. The answer is yes. It is appropriate. The Senate is made up of people who make decisions. When they're full of shit, or wrong, or need to be criticized, then it is perfectly appropriate to do so. This false "let's respect each other by never talking smack" idea is absolute bullshit. There's no need to talk around the issues out of some idiotic sensitivity for everyone's feelings. Separating the issues from the people just isn't possible. The issues are decided by the people's opinions on them, and you can't separate people from their opinions.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/10/2007 09:53:00 PM #
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. . .
Also

Also from the Senate, Jonathan Poullard talked about hate crime stuff from a while ago. He insisted that whether it was a hate crime or not was irrelevant (okay, then why should it have been in the bill?). The real consequence was the "chilling effect." So I'll ask again: Who in SJP was scared?

In other news, it looks like the Laoation Student Association had their signboard broken recently, too. They'll be getting money from Campus Life and Leadership, I think.

Nad Permaul, on the Bears Lair: "For the first time in years, all the lights work."

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/10/2007 09:33:00 PM #
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. . .
Etc

Continuing with this amusing episode, YAF wrote a letter that basically asks the university to own up to its bias, since it won't be willing to take the actions it demanded against the conservatives now that they noticed the obvious (that they were put up by other folks). It's a bias crime! Get a task force out there!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/10/2007 05:52:00 PM #
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. . .
Another episode

It's time for another episode of "judge the accuracy of that Daily Cal claim":
The ASUC Senate is set to consider a bill tonight that would temporarily reduce student Class Pass fees by $1.50 each semester as the service the fee is meant to pay for is not yet available.
That would be awesome!!!
The bill asks for the senate's authorization to send a letter to Ron Coley, the UC Berkeley Associate Vice Chancellor of Business and Administrative Services, detailing reasons for temporarily waiving this portion of the fee until the service is instated.
Oh... hmm... let's revise that first bit, with additions in bold:
The ASUC Senate is set to consider a bill tonight that would beg the university administration to temporarily reduce student Class Pass fees by $1.50 each semester as the service the fee is meant to pay for is not yet available.
Much better. Let's see what Josh Daniels has to say.
Daniels said that even though the fee is small for each student, he wants to set a precedent for this campus and other UC campuses.

"Students are paying such high fees, they should not be paying for services they are not receiving," he said.
Last year, for those of you who don't remember, Josh Daniels pushed a fee increase that would pay for no services at all, in the hopes that maybe the university would throw the students a bone. I guess he decided to set a different precedent this time.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/10/2007 12:07:00 PM #
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. . .
No, you're a fascist

The East Bay Express has a piece on Cal's Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. David Horowitz is doing a nationwide campus bash thingie, and Berkeley College Republicans is the group doing it here.

I found this related story pretty funny, because the idiotic bureaucrats apparently thought it was a serious poster put up by the YAF group and complained to them. Lasers in eyes? Nothing suspicious there...

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/10/2007 12:03:00 PM #
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. . .
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Six days ago

Oh, minutes.

It turns out that not only does Vishal Gupta want those Gala tickets to be available first to elected officials, they already have compensated tickets. Which means the proposal is to give each elected official an opportunity to pick two folks to go before having to compete with the general student body.

The Senate was discussing a bill to provide meaningless support for the DREAM act, which gives money to illegal immigrants. Joel Aguilar says:
It was imperative for the Senate to pass the Resolution that evening. It will help out a lot of students who were struggling and help out communities and families, and provide a means to get better educated youth and better themselves, and have a better workforce. Mr. Aguilar said he came there as an undocumented student and came to Berkeley as a transfer student.
Oh, people from other countries are so funny. Would passing a meaningless ASUC resolution really "help out communities and families, etc."?

The "Education is a human right" approach is an interesting one. It's not like these folks would have had the opportunity to get a Cal education if only they hadn't been smuggled across the border. Doesn't that mean we have to conquer Mexico or something, in order to provide this human right to all those who don't have parents willing to ship them to America?
Mr. Daniels said he wasn't present last week for the debate on the ASUC lawyer bill. He wanted to thank Sen. Duong for speaking on behalf of grad students. Mr. Daniels said he was a little bit upset with the proportionality of the Selection Committee. There were four folks from the ASUC and only one from the GA. It's done and was no big deal, but in the future, he thought that if there could be a two-to-one ratio, that would be most beneficial from the GA's perspective.
I wonder if it occurred to him that the Senate is not supposed to be representing what's most beneficial to the GA. A two-to-one ratio between folks that are voted on by graduate students and those who are not? I dunno... I would hope that folks who are voted on by graduate students would have total control. That, of course, means no place for the GA, though.

Taylor Allbright's attempt to appoint Ashley Thomas as EVP Summer Chief-of-Staff turned out to be interesting, because she apparently provided neither a resume or a report of what she did to the Senate.
Mr. Rhoads moved to table the appointment until next week to investigate this constitutionally, and how it worked over the summer. The motion was seconded by Mr. Shams.

Ms. Allbright moved to amend the motion, to consider as a whole a motion to rescind every single stipend made that entire year, as those questions of legality would also apply. The motion was seconded by Mr. Galeon.
Haha. The appointment got tabled. I like this new Senate dynamic.

The appointment of a Finance Officer failed, as the nominee, Allen Cho, didn't really have experience and only insisted that he would learn, eventually. Or something. It was pretty party line, with CalSERVE supporting it, and everyone else opposing it or abstaining.

Gabe Weiner tried to pull something from Consent Calendar, but apparently missed the call for objections. He tried later. CalSERVE wanted to let it stand and serve as a "warning." Taylor got overruled by the Senate, and she threatened a Judicial Council suit. The bill got pulled.

Roxanne Winston pretty much shows equal protection the door in favor of the loud with a comment on discussion for some highly-funded event:
Ms. Winston said public transportation was available to get there, and there will be a lot of interest in Conference. Also, it was privileged to talk about who was a Cal student and who wasn't because, it was privileged to be there. Part of the privilege of being a Cal student was to give back to the community. Also, she didn't think it was appropriate to compare different events.

Mr. Weiner asked how they'd be consistent and fair if they didn't compare events. Ms. Winston said they could listen to discussion and to people's opinions. If they compare this event to others, they should compare every event to every other event.
"Listen to discussion and to people's opinions," of course, means "defer to loud activists."

Chad Kunert got up to talk against the DREAM Act with the usual arguments (displaces legal residents, incentive for illegal immigration, etc.). He told me that he was then effectively called a racist, but this may have taken place in the comments after the vote, and thus didn't appear in the minutes. Too bad. I was looking forward to those comments.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/09/2007 04:08:00 PM #
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. . .
In eight days or so

A Bill Against Islamic-Fascism Awareness Week: No one shall express an opinion on campus without the ASUC getting its two cents in:
Therefore let it be resolved, that the ASUC stands in solidarity with the Coalition Against Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week in strongly condemning the stance and manner of which this event has been presented,
There's a Coalition Against Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. That's pretty funny. How has this event been presented, by the way?

A Resolution in Support of the University of California-Wide Count Me In! Campaign: This is a campaign to disaggregate "Asian Americans" for the purposes of racial bean-counting.

A Resolution in Support of Lower Ticket Prices for Students to the ASUC's 120th Anniversary Gala: This is an attempt to subsidize ticket prices for 100 students $70 each to the aforementioned Gala. As you might expect, elected officials are going to get first dibs at these tickets. Because what's the point in helping students if you can't help yourself first? Sponsored by Student Action, of course (and written by Vishal Gupta).

A Bill for Improved Procedures: This is an attempt to eliminate straw polls in the Senate.

A Resolution in Support of Equal Protection and Free Expression: In further fallout from the SJP insurance thingie, it's a bill to suggest that, in the future, the ASUC will provide support to all groups who are targeted by the stupid "bias-motivated" category of crimes.

A Resolution in Support of ASUC's 120th Anniversary Gala: A competing proposal to the one above, this one puts money into Contingency and Greek Philanthropy and then provides a smaller subsidy ($30 on 50 tickets). It also doesn't include the first dibs for elected officials. Sponsored by CalSERVE, and gets my all-important endorsement as the better choice.

A Bill in Support of the Greek Opportunity Fund: Another attempt to give Greeks an opportunity to seek funding, this one allows them to seek funding for open-to-the-public events in specific categories. It will occur through a "Greek Opportunity Fund," the proposed new name for Greek Philanthropy, and organizations that get money from it will not be allowed to get money from Contingency. I think it also frees organizations that don't get such funding to seek money from Contingency.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/09/2007 02:38:00 PM #
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. . .
Have a suggestion?

Don't tell The Daily Cal:
The treasurer’s office was careful to say that this was only a suggestion, and that the intent of the report was to only provoke discussion in order to find creative ways to solve the ongoing budget crisis.

However, just the idea of losing state funding and thus losing the public nature of the university is offensive.
No suggestions! If you make wrong suggestions, you are dismissed! Now, why is it that we don't have any good ideas?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/09/2007 02:35:00 PM #
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. . .
Um...

I don't think you can begin a legitimate news article with:
Some UC Berkeley students have a DREAM, and that is the passing of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, which provides financial aid for students regardless of their legal status.
Oh, well.
By Any Means Necessary, a student advocacy group for immigrant rights...
Don't they have some other aspects to their advocacy? I seem to recall one or two...
"We as students understand the importance of education to the economic and social prosperity of the state and we don't accept the racist, dead-end idea that some of us deserve legalized discrimination," said Ronald Cruz, a BAMN member and organizer of the protest.
Yes, because when it comes to treating illegal immigrants poorly, America is bad. One has to wonder, though, why all those signs are in the language of Mexico, since Mexicans is far more racist than Americans under the standard suggested by Cruz (how they treat illegal immigrants).

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/09/2007 02:31:00 PM #
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. . .
Kats

The interesting thing about this story is not the Republican debate that may be on campus in the future, but why the Daily Cal is able to do a story on it. After all, publicizing it now before the contract is finalized could easily derail the negotiations, yet there's the university spokesperson talking about it, almost as if... oh. I see. Maybe they aren't as "excited" about it as Janet Gilmore says.
ASUC President Van Nguyen expressed concern that the event would be geared toward Republicans rather than the entire campus community.
No! Such an event, geared towards a specific group of people, should never be held on campus! (Hint 1: It's actually going to be geared towards Republicans not in Berkeley)
"It shouldn't be a quick media opportunity," Nguyen said. "Many students' voices need to be heard."
Really? I would think the point of a presidential debate is to have the candidates' voices heard. I kind of doubt that "students' voices" would be able to present themselves in a civilized manner here at Cal. (Hint 2: The Republicans are counting on Cal folks to make fools of themselves. See Hint 1)

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/09/2007 06:47:00 AM #
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Monday, October 08, 2007
Stay with your kind, boy

Why does Reno Franklin hate freedom?
Speakers during the protest said that as an American Indian descendant himself, Birgeneau should show them respect and meet with them. Birgeneau is a descendant of the Metis Nation, a Canadian tribe, Felde said.

"Wake up and be an Indian again because that's what he's supposed to be," said Reno Franklin, a member of the Kashia Pomo tribe.
Wow. Just wow. I don't think I've ever seen such an egregious subject-subject disagreement before. Also the racism.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/08/2007 04:52:00 PM #
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. . .
Aww...

It looks like ASUC paralysis has been called off, unfortunately. I'm told that the ASUC has picked Ross Lingenfelder, president of Berkeley College Republicans, as their Solicitor General. This was the last week for them to do so before being unable to conduct business.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/08/2007 04:43:00 PM #
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. . .
Exclamation Mark Deployed

Scott Lucas continues to dig:
Let's face it. Christopher Columbus is not a person particularly worth celebrating. The story of the European conquest of the Americas is not something to be proud of. That's why we should celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day instead. All the fun of a federal holiday without any of the theft, slavery and murder.
"Indigenous Peoples" engaged in theft, slavery and murder, too, you know. Oh, and human sacrifice. Don't forget the human sacrifice. How ironic, then, that he goes on to write
Indigenous Peoples' Day recognizes the native cultures of the Americas that often are glossed over in the stories we tell ourselves about our country.
a few seconds after doing a bit of glossing-over of his own.
The holidays we celebrate as a nation reflect the moral exemplars we hold up: Washington, Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Santa Claus.
Washington and Lincoln got axed a while ago. There's something seriously wrong with Lucas's information sources.
We may never live up to the example they are supposed to set for us, but we aspire to be like the people we celebrate.
Dead?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/08/2007 12:43:00 AM #
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. . .
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Serious Business

It's due to things like this that I can't believe that the folks bitching about Bush are genuinely worried about anything.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/07/2007 10:38:00 PM #
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. . .
Democrats support infanticide

Breaking! Democratic party operatives support efforts to "strangle the baby in the cradle." We knew this was the next step from abortion. Why didn't anyone stop them? WHY!!??

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/07/2007 01:23:00 AM #
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. . .
Saturday, October 06, 2007
In other news

I'm told that UC Davis's graduate student government has followed its undergrad government and withdrawn from the UCSA. Maybe there is something wrong with the UCSA, rather than with Davis, as Danny Montes insists...

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/06/2007 11:30:00 PM #
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We're so right we don't want anyone to know

Ethan Strauss at the Daily Clog says some folks at some Hatem Bazian lecture put on by SJP tried to steal his camera or erase the pictures.

Update: Yaman says the event was put on by Islamic Awareness, and SJP doesn't support the stealing of cameras or pictures. If the folks were associated with Islamic Awareness, it's twice as funny. "Be aware of Islam... but don't tell anyone!"

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/06/2007 09:48:00 PM #
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. . .
I am shocked

Shocked!

A while ago, San Francisco decided to end the JROTC program at its high schools because a bunch of whiners who weren't being hurt at all by it, (like Daniel Johengen, Manon Fisher, Ida Cuttler, and Mara Kubrin) convinced the school board to fuck over all the students who benefited from it because "eww... war bad!"

They noted that it wouldn't be bad for all those students who benefited, because the school district would come up with something just as good to replace it.

Shockingly, it turns out that the local school board failed miserably, as they always do, when it comes to providing effective education.

I love how a majority of the school board now wants to keep it, but none of them have the balls to actually fight for that.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/06/2007 02:25:00 PM #
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. . .
Thursday, October 04, 2007
More whee

It's good to let your staff show their critical thinking skills on occasion, like The Daily Cal did today.
People should free themselves from mental slavery to the dollar. By realizing simplicity as a key to happiness, people can increase their peacefulness towards the planet and all the people in it.
Andrew Willis is the staff representative, by the way. Is simplicity the key to happiness? Back when things were simple, happiness was far more prevalent, after all.
Recall the most ridiculously double-flip, chocolate-dipped, euphoric moment in your life. Was it the season premiere of "24?" Eating the infamous 32-ounce from YoPo? The moment when you first fired up your iPhone? Probably not (if you answered yes to any of the above, seek help). I'd be willing to bet they came from chillin' with friends, celebrating with family or learning something new.

The purity of this type of happiness outweighs the more superficial pleasures of consumerism.
And why did you have time to chill with your friends? Why weren't you out working the fields? How are you going to eat if you don't spend your entire life farming?
Think about the adverse effects of using electricity generated from fossil fuels, whose emissions are causing global climate change that is slowly melting glacial ice and threatening polar bear populations.
Whoa, whoa, I thought we were going to go simple. That electricity which makes so many things simple... we have to avoid it? Won't that make things more complicated?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/04/2007 08:26:00 PM #
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. . .
Yay!

It looks like some helpful fellow decided to help our French visitors feel at home here at Cal.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/04/2007 08:23:00 PM #
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Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Nude pictures of ASUC Senators

Now that I have your attention (actually, that might make you direct your attention elsewhere), let's talk about boring legal technicalities.

The ASUC Constitution allows closed sessions for a few specific reasons:
The ASUC Senate, the Judicial Council, the Graduate Assembly, and subordinate units of these bodies may hold closed sessions only if two-thirds (2/3) of their entire membership approve. Such closed sessions may be held only for the discussion or consideration of the following:

Matters concerning the appointment, employment, performance, compensation, or dismissal of ASUC employees, excluding elected and appointed officers.
This struck me as rather strange. Why are personnel decisions closed in many public organizations? The decision, in my opinion, really needs to belong to the employee in question, rather than the body evaluating them. Decisions to open or close sessions become brutally political, and the Senate could easily close a session to avoid humiliating itself because the reason it wants to fire someone has nothing to do with the actual job. There is some precedent for this. (Abbreviated version)

I'm interested in seeing this on the ballot for the Spring, and am soliciting opinions from folks. If you have thoughts on the topic, pitch them!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/03/2007 11:45:00 PM #
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. . .
And the SJP stuff

Finally, in the saddest part of the day, the Senate made what I think was a terrible decision in terms of equal protection in regards to SJP. I've taken this portion of the minutes and posted it at Beetle Beat Extended, and I suggest you just look through it yourself.
People come up to the SJP table and ask if they were wearing a suicide belt. People who table for the group had to be trained on how to deal with people who were hostile and aggressive.
Yes, that happens when you have an opinion that people don't like. Just ask the Republicans. I don't think that makes you a victim of hate crimes.
Kicking the sign in two pieces inspired fear and hindered free speech.
Who was scared? I really want to know. I want SJP to stand up and say they were scared. If they weren't, then they're bullshitting, as most of us recognized immediately. They're the victims of people who don't like them. It happens. That doesn't make every problem a hate crime.

Gabe Weiner focused mostly on the definition of hate crime in law, insisting that this didn't meet it. That's probably true, but the Senate can say whatever the hell it wants, probably. I say it's not a hate crime because it's just stupid to try to claim such a broad identity as SJP does. They are a political advocacy group, no matter how they try to pitch themselves. They aren't the Palestinian Student Association.

It's important to remember that no one knows who did it, which means no one knows the motivation. Was it hatred of the Palestinian people? There's no evidence of that. Maybe it was just folks who think they stand for suicide bombings (who exist, according to SJP). Maybe it was the brother of some cop that some guy bit once.
They weren't looking at State law and legal definitions. The person who kicked the sign in two was not asking about definitions.
That makes absolutely no fucking sense in terms of trying to decide whether or not it's a hate crime. And, as far as they know, maybe it was kicked in by a guy reading California Hate Crime Law at the same time.
What happened was people were assaulted politically.
Boo fucking hoo! That happens in the real world. Your politics are attacked. That doesn't mean you're a victim of a hate crime.
[Husam Samir Khalil Zakharia] said hypothetically he agreed that it would be ideal if they knew the exact intentions of the person who did this vandalism. But they didn't. But they do know what the political context was and how people in the group feel. That’s what the Senate should base its decision on.
Senate! Hop to accommodate our feelings! (And yes, that's exactly what the Senate did)
[Jeremy Anapol] said the first Resolved Clause stated that the ASUC will support SJP in its attempts to raise funds for and reconstruct the sign. That seemed good on its face, but he believed that would be a violation of the principle of equal protection, because other groups that might not enjoy as much political support as SJP would have no guarantee the Senate would act and give them the same support as SJP. He would suggest striking that, or replacing it with wording saying the ASUC would support victims of vandalism or censorship.
Remember that. It'll come back. Watch how bravely the SJP folks and their supporters stand up for this concept.
Mr. Weiner asked if she would be willing to call it a hate crime if other signs were broken. Ms. Winston said she would be willing to listen to that argument. SJP was a political group and a group of individuals, many of whom were affected by events that took place in Palestine. So this was a valid argument for a hate crime. The Cal Dems, e.g., wouldn't have such strong support for damage to its sign being a hate crime. Mr. Weiner said that based on its mission statement and membership, the SJP was not a national group but a political group. Ms. Winston said they were a political group that supported a nationality.
Haha! Nice call. Do Cal Dems support America? Does that make an attack on the Cal Dems a hate crime against Americans? No, no, that's the wrong type of victim. And if the key is hostile climate and folks who go up to the table to accuse them of ridiculous things, just replace Cal Dems with Berkeley College Republicans.

And don't miss this one:
Mr. Shams said he wanted to thank Mr. Anapol for being civil and for the Jewish caucus for working on this. Ms. Coleman said there was no "Jewish caucus," and not all Jewish members of the Senate felt the same way. Mr. Shams said he thought they met. Ms. Coleman said there was no meeting.
Don't Jews have those secret Jewish Caucus Meetings?
Mr. Osmeña yielded time to Mr. Anapol. Mr. Anapol said that in a last-ditch effort to ensure equal protection for groups that encounter this in the future, he would ask the Senate to consider the following Resolved Clause: "Resolved, that in future cases of bias or hate-motivated crimes against any student group, the ASUC Senate will provide appropriate support, both monetary and rhetorical, to the targeted group, regardless of its membership."

Mr. Anapol said the idea was that even if a group didn't have the same support politically that SJP had in the Senate, the Senate will have committed itself to giving it the same treatment. He thought this would be good step in combating hate crimes and bias on campus in general.
As you might expect, that amendment never happened.

At this point, though, the Senate has sort of tied itself into a corner, because it's possibly obligated, under equal protection, to take this sort of action on a content-neutral basis, no matter who comes bitching. It also may mean they have to provide the same free insurance to all other student groups as they did for SJP.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/03/2007 12:15:00 AM #
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. . .
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Stuff from seven or so days ago, in ASUC

Let's see what Josh Daniels is up to...
Mr. Daniels said he previously distributed the informal results of a survey showing how grads voted on referenda last year. The primary thing that grads care about with regard to Lower Sproul was a "graduate-focused facility," which was the term used in the survey. That didn't mean a building, but an area of Lower Sproul that would feel like home to a grad student. Lower Sproul currently did not cater to, serve, or really interest most graduate students as a destination. The second condition, which concerned the ASUC the most, was that the GA asked for proportionality. If grads were asked to contribute one-third of student fees to any redevelopment, they would like one-third of the space, one-third of commercial residual revenue, etc. If they're asked to pay 10%, they would take 10%. Whatever they pay as a percentage, grads would like that percent to be set aside to focus on graduate students.
As long as he doesn't think "grads=GA" that's great, but I sort of think he does. One third of commercial revenue would go to the GA? Even though graduate students would also have a say in the remaining two thirds? Yeah. What about, say, stuff that can serve both grads and undergrads? Will that count? Probably not. Daniels knows that the ASUC is always willing to compromise, so if the GA doesn't, they can just keep getting more and more power as the ASUC keeps meeting them halfway. One of these days, the ASUC Senate needs to learn to protect its authority with the same vigor as the GA, so they can deal with them on reasonable terms.
Mr. Daniels said grads had a number of preferences for Lower Sproul, such as a graduate student café.
Okay, I'll bite. What's a graduate student cafe? And how does it differ from, say, a public cafe?
Mr. Daniels said that the GA's informal survey, which wasn't statistically significant, showed that graduate students actually favored the Student Life Referendum and The Green Initiative Fund, whereas undergrads didn't. Student Life lost because undergrads outnumber grads.
Those are some pretty broad conclusions from a study that isn't statistically significant.
Regarding the bill to select a new ASUC attorney, Mr. Daniels said this was a good example of how he would like to have better communication. This attorney will represent the GA as well as the ASUC. Mr. Daniels said he only knew by informal conversation with Pres. Nguyen that this bill was even coming forward, and that there was one GA rep on the committee. He would request that if the Senate or the ASUC had five or six representatives, that the GA got three, or however it would work. He didn't want to cause lots of confusion, but the GA was one-third of the student body, which the GA represented. Having proportional representation would be appropriate.
It would... except that graduate students are represented by the Senate, as well. So proportional representation doesn't actually work the way he says. (Thankfully, the ASUC didn't cave this far this time) As usual, Josh Daniels wants to deny the graduate student voice in the ASUC Senate, because it weakens his own power and authority.

Several motions failed unanimously by voice vote, which I find sort of funny.
Ms. Kuo said she browsed through the entire page [the ASUC website] and couldn't see what would be worthy of $6,000 for the site. Ms. Allbright said she didn't sign the contract, so they would have to ask last year Execs. She understood that former President Oren Gabriel headed up this effort.
Zing!

The ASUC then tried to talk about forming a committee to find a new lawyer.
Lastly, Mr. Nguyen said he thought that a lot of time students felt they need quote "experts," someone older than them, people who would be there longer than students. That might have some validity, but Mr. Nguyen said he didn't want Senators to underestimate their own input and knowledge. They were voted in as Senators for a reason, to give input on things like this, and the students trust them to make decisions like this. They could ask for advice, but they didn't need to be told what was best for the students.
Way to pander! The reason to not listen to "experts" isn't because Senators have valid input or knowledge (they don't), but because those "experts" have their own goals. Still, putting it in those terms might have hurt some Senators' feelings, and that's the most important thing to Senators (they call it "respect").

Christian Osmeña is the one who was most vociferously defending the Senate's authority, and so far, I think he's one of the more respectable Senators I've seen.

Most folks were trying to add folks who were affected to the committee, and apparently only Senator Weiner bothered to point out that you don't give authority to people just because they're affected.
Mr. Osmeña said grad students vote in ASUC elections, and he thought the Senate represented grad students. None of them were grads, and there could be knowledge the GA could present to them in a committee, which was why he thought the GA President should be a non-voting member.
Oops! Don't say that! Josh Daniels won't like it if you say that! He doesn't want you to represent graduate students. He wants graduate students to be represented by the folks they don't vote for (i.e. the Graduate Assembly).

The By-Laws include an unconstitutional part, apparently, saying that if someone leaves while quorum is being verified, they are counted absent. Presence is defined in the Constitution, and the By-Laws can't put a different condition on it. I don't know if anyone noticed, though.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 10/02/2007 11:04:00 PM #
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